Championship-winning grand prix cars, a supercar that ruled both the roads and, as the F1 GTR, Le Mans…and what does he want to go down in history for? A manufacturing process. No conversation with Murray is ever very far from iStream, the Formula 1-style honeycomb structure that the new TVR will be using when it comes out in 2018.
‘It’s always nice to be recognised for the old stuff, but for most people motor sport is just entertainment, and while the McLaren F1 was a great step forward how many people can really appreciate it? One hundred people in the world. What we are doing now is dramatically changing the way we make cars for everyone…the first step-change since we started pressing steel bodies over 100 years ago.’
The TVR’s honeycomb structure will be sandwiched between carbon, not the glass-fibre he started out with for his first
iStream project, an affordable city car concept for Yamaha. iStream Carbon is informed directly by F1 practice, he says – and there’s more to come, too…
‘I started using monolithic carbon (flat sheets of the stuff – ed) in 1978/9 with Brabham but then McLaren arrived in 1981 with a honeycomb car which was the first use of stabilised carbon panels. Monolithic carbon has advantages over steel but it’s not F1 technology. Just changing sheet metal for sheet carbon the way some expensive supercars do today is the wrong way to use it. A honeycomb structure is the key.’
That’s what the TVR will use… and, if all goes to plan, some much more expensive cars as well. Meet iStream 3: carbon-skinned honeycomb structures on an aluminium frame for Gordon Murray’s ultimate concoction of stiffness, strength and light weight. If it happens, it would mean that his iStream process reaches from the mass market through premium to the super-premium class. ‘The aim is to cover the entire market,’ says Murray.