He's the man who fathered the original McLaren F1 – a machine that’s still considered the finest supercar of all time. But what does Gordon Murray think of the new MP4-12C? Auto Express grabbed some time with the legendary engineer to find out.
AE: You’ve been away from the McLaren set-up for six years, what were you working on before you left?
GM: Well, after the F1 and the SLR I was working with a team looking at other projects. In my last two years I headed up a group called Advanced Concepts. The main reason for this was to look at exotic materials such as carbonfibre, with the aim of producing these in higher volumes but at lower costs.
AE: Was that going to be applied to anything in particular?
GM: One of the last cars I worked on was codenamed Project Eight, which was to be the next McLaren-Mercedes model to succeed the SLR. It had a monocoque construction. We had some debate on whether Project Eight should be made from aluminium, but I was determined to pursue the carbonfibre route.
AE: And what do you think of the new MP4-12C?
GM: I’m very pleased to see that the MP4-12C has the same modular, monocoque construction. There are lots of supercars around now, but none of them can boast this advanced chassis. It’s a very strong USP for the MP4-12C and gives it a clear link to the company’s Formula One cars. Supercars are also getting heavier and heavier and what McLaren have done here is focus on lightweight, which is totally the right thing to do.
AE: How is the Gordon Murray Design city car project progressing?
GM: Very well. We have finished the petrol car and are working on T26 – a customer car. This will be delivered very soon. Then we’ll start work on T27. The main concern of the business is to license the technology, though, and we’ve got several contracts to fulfill, so things are going very well indeed. It’s fantastic that Gordon Murray Design is a British company that’s keeping the technology in the country too.
AE: Finally, have you driven an F1 lately?
GM: I drove one last week actually! It’s still as good as when I first drove it. No question.