F1 designer Gordon Murray has unveiled his lightweight city car. It seats three, weighs just 575kg, has a top speed of almost 100mph and is expected to cost about £6,000.
This contrasts completely to his earlier work – During the 70s and early 80s, Murray earned his spurs as a Formula 1 racing car designer, churning out cars that won a string of Grand Prix races and World Championships for Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham Team. Next he joined McLaren where he repeated the exercise, producing the Formula 1 car that earned Ayrton Senna his first championship, before penning a legendary road car The F1, which held the title as the world’s fastest road car for years.
But six years ago, Murray stepped off the Formula 1 merry-go-round to pursue a dream – one that he hopes could change forever the way cars are being built.
The new car is so narrow that two can drive next to each other in one lane, a car so small and short that three can park in one parking space.
The car is built from glass fibre, recycled plastic bottles and steel tubes, using just a fifth of the material required to build a conventional car.
Such a vehicle could have the potential to prevent gridlock on the world’s roads as the number of cars quadruples to 2.5 billion by 2020.
It could also help hundreds of millions of people achieve their dream of owning a car, without depleting scarce resources such as water, energy or steel
Murray’s dream is tucked away in a modest brick building on an industrial site in Surrey. Here, Murray’s team – the same one that he worked with at McLaren – has built a tiny city car – the T.25.
The T.25 has no doors; instead it opens as the front tilts forward
The T.25 copies the F1 supercar’s three-seat interior design, with the driver in the middle and the passengers behind. And like the F1, the city car is built using composite materials – only cheaper ones. The body panels and the monocoque of the car are reinforced with glass, which costs a fraction of carbon.
It all sits on a flimsy steel tube frame that Murray acknowledges “is nowhere near strong enough on its own”. But once the monocoque is glued into the frame, in a process similar to how a windscreen is glued into a car body, it becomes “as sturdy and safe as a conventional car”.
This is proper ‘thinking outside the box’ and is without doubt going to have a huge impact on the world of motoring – watch this space……..