An engineering firm headed up by former F1 designer Gordon Murray, who also penned the McLaren F1, has developed a new lightweight sports car architecture.
Although the T.43 is built by new firm Gordon Murray Automotive, the company says the platform is designed for license or sale, so the car could arrive wearing another manufacturer’s badge.
Either way, power comes from a three-cylinder turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline engine that produces 220 hp. That power is fed to the wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
According to GMA, the engine will be mounted in the middle of a car that measures 3640 millimeters (143.3 inches) in length and 1750 millimeters (69 inches) wide.
The total weight of just 850 kilograms (1,874 pounds) gives the car a power-to-weight ratio of 259 hp per ton, and GMA says the car will offer "exceptional" performance. The company is promising class-leading ergonomics, visibility and cargo capacity, too, alongside "new levels" of torsional rigidity, lightnes, and durability.
All that is made possible by sister firm Gordon Murray Design (GMD) and its iStream technology - the latest version of which has just been announced.
Using an F1-inspired high-strength aluminum frame with composite panels, GMD claims to have created an architecture that can deliver weight savings of up to 50 percent, permitting new gains in efficiency, performance and handling.
And because of the modularity of its construction, GMD says the iStream Superlight technology can be applied to any kind of car, from Ford Fiesta-sized superminis and Mazda MX-5-style sports cars to large SUVs or even Transit-sized light commercial vehicles.
The platform can even be used in electric cars, and GMD claims its adaptability would make it cost-effective for car manufacturers.
Professor Gordon Murray said: "The new iStream Superlight approach to vehicle manufacturing is a paradigm-shifting innovation for the global automotive industry. It is a breakthrough that will deliver the lightest chassis technology for decades to come. The Gordon Murray Design team has created a unique, adaptable and cost-effective way for manufacturers around the world to dramatically improve vehicle performance and efficiency."
In addition to the cost and weight savings, though, GMD also points out that the iStream Superlight platform has far better corrosion resistance than conventional steel constructions.
But the iStream technology isn’t limited to the bodywork. GMD has also applied its lightweight know-how to vehicle seats, creating a seat that’s capable of four-way adjustment but weighs far less than a conventional seat. That’s mostly down to the composite construction, which can use either glass or carbon, cutting the weight of a typical seat by around 30 percent.
Although conceived for the automotive sector, GMD says the construction could also be applied to aircraft or trains.
The new T.43 sports car platform is not related to the forthcoming TVR, which Gordon Murray has also been involved with.
Source: Gordon Murray Design
Gallery: Gordon Murray Design T.43 teasers
New Gordon Murray Design technology cuts vehicle body weight in half
- iStream Superlight reduces vehicle body weight by up to 50%
- Applicable to all vehicle segments, the new chassis promises to be the lightest, strongest and safest platform for decades to come
- Another new innovation, the iStream lightweight seat, achieves 30% weight saving over standard seat
Dunsfold, UK: The world-leading British design and engineering company Gordon Murray Design has unveiled the latest version of its ground breaking iStream® automotive manufacturing system which revolutionises the way cars are manufactured. Combining a high-strength aluminium frame with advanced carbon fibre composite panels, iStream Superlight® brings Formula One-derived construction and technologies to mainstream car production.
The new process promises to usher in a new era of vehicle performance with the lightweight structure offering greater safety, lower emissions, improved handling, and enhanced durability. The new innovation not only delivers up to 50% weight reduction compared with a standard stamped-metal body, it also offers new levels of platform flexibility.
Due to the modular nature of the iStream Superlight chassis, the core platform can be adapted to suit every segment of vehicle from sports cars and ultra-efficient electric city cars to SUVs and light commercial vehicles. This adaptable formula ensures cost-effectiveness for manufacturers by avoiding the need for high capital investment and individual chassis designs for each model variant.
Professor Gordon Murray said: “The new iStream Superlight approach to vehicle manufacturing is a paradigm-shifting innovation for the global automotive industry. It is a breakthrough that will deliver the lightest chassis technology for decades to come. The Gordon Murray Design team has created a unique, adaptable and cost-effective way for manufacturers around the world to dramatically improve vehicle performance and efficiency.”
‘iStream Superlight’ employs a simple high-strength aluminium thin-wall tubular frame and honeycomb recycled carbon-composite chassis panels in place of the stamped metal used in most volume car production. Its lightweight design delivers a body-in-white structure delivering up to 50% of the weight of stamped metal, while achieving new levels of rigidity, durability and platform flexibility.
Key advantages of iStream Superlight**:
- 50% saving over conventional stamp steel BIW
- Corrosion resistant properties exceed coated steel
- Low weight aluminum frame can deliver a cost neutral BIW when compared to stamped steel
- More efficient frame stiffness achieved for aluminum section through the use of carbon iPanels®
iStream lightweight seat
Gordon Murray Design has also revealed its new seat innovation – the iStream lightweight seat, which uses the same innovative materials, techniques and technologies as the iStream chassis.
This newly-developed seat incorporates glass or recycled carbon-fibre composite and a tubular frame to achieve dramatic weight savings. Compared to a typical vehicle seat, the iStream lightweight seat achieves a weight reduction of up to 30%. The iStream lightweight seat can be designed to suit all types of passenger vehicle.
While the design is aimed at weight saving in passenger cars, the new seat has the potential to benefit other passenger transportation sectors. From aerospace to rail, the patented design delivers new levels of lightweight and low tooling costs.
*** Key advantages of iStream lightweight seat:
- 30% weight saving vs conventional modern seat
- iStream lightweight composite structure (glass or carbon)
- Full four-way adjustment and fold-flat mode
T.43 iStream Superlight sports car
During Gordon Murray Design’s One Formula event in November 2017, which celebrated Gordon Murray’s 50 years of car design, a new company was announced – Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA) – alongside the official opening of the GMA premises at Dunsfold in Surrey.
GMA also announced a new licensing model to complement its existing iStream technology licensing programme. The new licencing approach focuses on licensing automotive platforms alongside existing iStream licences. The T.43 sports car is the first platform and product designed for licence or sale.
The T.43 sports car utilises iStream Superlight and is designed to be an everyday usable coupe with not only exceptional performance capabilities, but also class leading ergonomics, visibility, and cargo capacity. The T.43 introduces new levels of lightweight, torsional stiffness, and durability.
T.43 sports car specifications:
- Power to weight ratio: 259 bhp per tonne
- Power: 220 bhp
- Weight: 850 kg
- Engine: 1.5 litre three-cylinder turbo
- Transmission: Six-speed manual
- Length – Rolling chassis: 3,640 mm
- Width: 1,750 mm
- Height – Rolling chassis: 1,240 mm
- Wheelbase – Rolling chassis: 2,500 mm
The new iStream Superlight structure is the output of a collaborative research project part-funded by the Innovate UK framework. Led by Gordon Murray Design, the consortium includes Bentley Motor Company, Brunel University London, Constellium, and Innoval Technology. The iStream seat also benefitted from collaborative research with Gordon Murray and Formaplex Limited pooling resources for the duration of a 12-month study.