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Prof. (Ian) Gordon Murray[1] (born 1946 in Durban, South Africa) is a renowned designer of Formula One race cars and the famous McLaren F1 'supercar' road car.

Contents

Early life

Gordon Murray grew up in a motor racing milieu in Durban, South Africa - his father was a motorcycle racer and later prepared racing cars. Gordon studied mechanical engineering at Natal Technical College (now Durban University of Technology, which made Murray an Honorary Professor in 2002). He built and raced his own car, the IGM Ford, in the South African National Class during 1967 and 1968.

Formula One Career

He moved to England in 1969, hoping to find a job at Lotus Cars. Soon afterward, however, Murray was offered a job at Brabham after coincidentally meeting Ron Tauranac (the then Brabham designer). When Bernie Ecclestone took over the Brabham team he appointed Murray as Chief Designer. There he designed many Grand Prix cars, some of which were World Championship winners. These designs include the extraordinary BT46B, also known as "the Brabham fan car", as well as the World Championship winning BT49 and BT52. Murray developed a reputation for an innovative approach to design, applied not only to car concepts and details but also to race strategy.[2]

Between 1973 and 1985 Murray’s Brabhams scored 22 Grand Prix wins, finished 2nd in the Constructors' Championship in 1975 and 1981[3], and gave Nelson Piquet Drivers’ Championships in 1981 and 1983.[4]

However, 1986 proved to be a disaster. Murray designed a radical and highly ambitious low-line Brabham BT55 in an effort to lower overall ride height, but the race car itself was not a success. At the end of the year Murray left Brabham and joined McLaren as Technical Director.

Learning from his low-line Brabham experience, his 1988 Honda-powered McLaren MP4/4 won 15 of the 16 Grands Prix, and gave Ayrton Senna his first Drivers' Championship. In the Constructors' Championship McLaren's points score of 199 was (at that time) an all-time high. Over the period 1988-91 the McLaren team won four consecutive Constructors' and Drivers' Championships: Alain Prost won the Drivers' Championship in 1989, Senna won further Drivers' Championships in 1990 and 1991.[5]

Other projects

In 1981 he was involved in improvements to the Midas Cars

From 1991-2004 Murray headed up the off-shoot McLaren Cars team to design road-going supercars: the McLaren F1 and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

Murray also independently designed the Rocket, an ultra-lightweight, open cockpit roadster powered by a 1-litre motorcycle engine, which has an appearance similar to that of a 60's era Grand Prix car. It was built by former racing driver Chris Craft at the Light Car Company.

Murray has been appointed director of advanced concepts at Caparo Vehicle Products[6], and was involved with Project Kimber, a group who intended to redesign the Smart Roadster, rebranded as an AC.

Murray is also a regular columnist for the performance oriented British Evo Magazine, and a contributing editor for American Road & Track.[7]

In July 2007 the Gordon Murray Design [1] consultancy was established, and released initial details regarding its upcoming T.25 (Type 25) prototype city car along with mention of a future lightweight, economical supercar project.[8][9] The T25 will be smaller than a Smart Fortwo.[10] In November 2009 Gordon Murray Design and Zytek Automotive announced plans to develop an electric-powered version, the T.27.[11]

On November 17, 2008 Gordon Murray won the ‘Idea of the Year’ accolade at Autocar magazine’s annual awards ceremony for the the manufacturing process proposed for the T.25.[12]

References

External links

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