Gordon Murray Automotive’s “everyday open-top supercar” – the T.33 Spider – made its public debut at the 80th Goodwood Members’ Meeting in April. The fourth model in the marque’s portfolio and its first convertible was officially unveiled by Professor Gordon Murray CBE and The Duke of Richmond on the pit lane lawn at the Goodwood Motor Circuit.
The T.33 Spider, similar to the sold-out T.33 coupé, on which it is based, is a two-seat mid-engine rear-wheel drive supercar. However, it comes with removable roof panels and a deployable rear window. As with any Gordon Murray car, the new Spider is engineered to offer outstanding ride, handling, and agility while keeping weight to a minimum.
At the unveiling ceremony, Prof. Gordon Murray said: “When drawing a car I imagine what it’s going to feel like to sit in, and how it will feel to drive. So from the first sketch of the T.33 Spider I knew that, with its open cockpit and the incredible Cosworth GMA.2 V12 engine right behind you, the T.33 Spider would deliver a truly involving driving experience that’s quite unlike anything else.”
T.33 Spider is powered by the Cosworth GMA.2 V12 engine, an all-aluminium, naturally-aspirated, dry-sump unit designed to be lightweight with a high specific output. Derived from the Cosworth V12 engine that powers the T.50, the GMA.2 variant made its debut with the T.33 coupé.
Weighing a mere 178 kg, it revs to a maximum of 11,100 rpm and produces 617 PS at 10,250 rpm. With 90 per cent of its maximum torque available from 4,500 to 10,500 rpm, it enables the T.33 cars usable for everyday drives. This engine is coupled with an H-gate six-speed manual gearbox, also derived from the T.50 transmission. Created by British motorsport specialists Xtrac, it weighs just 82 kg, making it one of the lightest high-performance gearboxes in the world.
The T.33 Spider’s Passive Boundary Layer Control (PBLC), featuring innovative underbody ducting, in combination with a rear diffuser deliver 150 kg of downforce at 240 kmph, and a maximum downforce at 312 kg at 335 kmph. Apart from the discreet active rear spoiler – which deploys automatically or can be activated by the driver – the car’s upper surface remains clean and streamlined.
With a dry weight of 1,108 kg, the Spider is marginally heavier than its hardtop sibling, as is expected, but is a contender for being the lightest open-top in its class. At the core of its lightness is the iStream Ultralight carbon monocoque. It features carbon fibre composite panels bonded to extruded aluminium tubing with precision die-cast nodes. The result is a monocoque that is stiff and light. Additionally, all body panels are made from carbon fibre.
The T.33 design ethos draws inspiration from the “most beautiful sports cars of the ‘60s,” which happens to be Gordon’s favourite period for sports car design. The interior is similarly minimalist and classically designed, nothing is superfluous and everything is there for a reason. As with every GMA car, every aspect of the interior is designed to enhance driving pleasure and reduce distractions.
The materials used have been chosen for their aesthetics, their tactility and their lightness, such as the beautifully machined aluminium rotary controls, the 120 mm floodlit analogue tachometer or the exposed gearchange mechanism. Unlike the coupé, the Spider’s rear bulkhead trim between the two seats is body coloured. This creates the impression of the exterior colour flowing into the cabin when the roof panels are removed and the rear glass is down.
At the T.33 Spider’s unveiling ceremony, Gordon Murray Automotive’s first convertible was accompanied by two open-top Gordon Murray Heritage vehicles. One was the 1967 IGM Ford (T.1), the first car Gordon designed in 1967 in South Africa, for which he built and tuned a Ford 105E engine for racing purposes. The second was the legendary Duckhams Ford LM (T.3), which Gordon designed as a 3-litre prototype for the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans.