Currently reading: Gordon Murray T50: Ultima-based mule lets V12 rip in new video
Indycar champion Dario Franchitti deploys 12,100rpm atmo V12 on Millbrook's high-speed test bowl

As the Gordon Murray Automotive T50 supercar is prepared for launch, test driver Dario Franchitti has taken to the high speed bowl at Millbrook Proving Ground in an Ultima GTR-based prototype, giving us an early taste of its distinctive engine note.

In an official video (below), the four-time Indycar Series champion gets acquainted with the T50's Cosworth-developed 650bhp naturally aspirated V12 as he prepares to drive one of the production-bodied XP (experimental prototype) test cars.

This is our first opportunity to hear the 4.0-litre V12 at speed, and as Franchitti approaches the headline-bating 12,100rpm rev limit, the engine note has obvious echoes of the twelve-cylinder power units used in Formula 1 until 1996. 

As was the case with the McLaren F1 (also developed by Gordon Murray and widely regarded as the T50's spiritual forebear), this test mule, known as George, is based on an Ultima, which is usually powered by a Chevrolet-derived V8 and as such has had to be extensively modified to accomodate the larger engine.

Three functioning XP cars are in operation, however, and one will star at the Goodwood Member's Meeting next week, lapping the Sussex circuit in anger in what will be the T50's public debut. 

The biggest mechanical difference between George and the final production car is that the early prototype goes without the T50's trademark downforce-enhancing fan technology. Inspired by the device used by Brabham's 1978 F1 race car, this essentially creates a 'virtual long tail' when the car is running at high speeds, improving stability. 

Notably, the Ultima's cabin also features a conventional two-seat layout, whereas the final T50 will adopt an F1-style three-seat arrangement, with the two passengers positioned slightly behind the centrally located driver. 

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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LP in Brighton 9 October 2021

Cosworth make great racing engines, but now comes the challenge of meeting drive-by noise regulations - or will this be sold for off road use only? 

289 8 October 2021

Sounds good, although in the UK not many circuits would allow that level of noise.

Personally I would rather have the Ultima (in RS format). Less complicated, nearly as fast for a fraction of the cost.

artill 8 October 2021

How wonderful. V12, that sound, a manual box. If only we could all buy a car like that, rather than the SUV EV they seem to want us to buy