New supercar from Gordon Murray

Renowned automotive designer Gordon Murray has announced plans to build an all-new car that will 'bring back driver involvement'

Gordon Murray has announced plans to produce a new limited-run car, following the design and engineering principles that he applied to the McLaren F1 – and using a revolutionary new platform that will also be made available to mainstream manufacturers.

‘Obviously it will be a sports car, it won’t be an SUV, I can promise you that,’ Gordon Murray told us at the launch of his new company, Gordon Murray Automotive (and the unveiling of his One Formula exhibition).

‘Above all it will be a driver’s car. We’re going against the current trend of sports cars getting bigger and heavier; we’ll turn the clock back in that way but we’ll use the very latest materials and aerodynamics.

‘We [motor manufacturers] are slowly losing the plot on driver involvement. We’d like to do something more useable. The powertrain will probably be a surprise, it will be back to purity. We’re looking at several options but one in particular is very exciting.’

The new car will be badged as an IGM, the brand that first appeared on the first car that Gordon designed and built, the IGM Ford Special T.1, 50 years ago, and built at the new HQ of Gordon Murray Automotive, at Dunsfold in Surrey, UK. A launch date hasn’t been released, with Gordon saying simply that ‘We’ll be kitting out the new place in the New Year but we’re not being pressured by any timescales.’

The IGM will be based on Gordon’s revolutionary iStream platform, which Gordon has developed over the past ten years, first demonstrating it on his 2010 City Car. The platform consists of a lightweight tubular framework, initially steel but now aluminium in its latest Superlight form, with composite 'integration' panels bonded onto the framework, giving the frame extra rigidity and strength. Exterior bodywork can then be attached to these ‘interim’ panels, allowing body styles to be varied with the minimum of tooling changes.

This construction can save up to 50% of the weight of a traditional pressed steel ‘body-in-white’ structure in its iStream Superlight form, and the move to wood composites and carbonfibre has saved another 4% of weight over previous glassfibre panels. Cars built in this way are expected to be at least 20% lighter.

‘It will be the ultimate body-in-white structure over the next three or four decades,’ Gordon explained. ‘We’re completely futureproofed – iStream will take any powertrain. I can’t think of anything that will be lighter or more affordable to produce. Several basic structures will be available to customers, but they’ll also be available to our designers for the new flagship model.

Gordon Murray Automotive board member Carl-Peter Forster, former MD of GM Europe and CEO of Tata Motors, confirms this. ‘Automotive technology is at its most interesting for probably 100 years,’ he said. ‘There is so much happening for electrification and autonomous drive; my opinion is that powertrains will be electrified and that diesel is unsustainable. But you add a battery and a battery is weight. We need much more attention paid to weight, and the weight of the body structure is the last frontier.

‘I think what Gordon has come up with is an absolutely unique technology. Mainstream manufacturers don’t have enough experience of bonding to have done this. Gordon has been doing it for years.’

Click here to read about the 'One Formula' Gordon Murray exhibition.

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