IT’S not often that people connected to the Formula 1 scene and competition cars in general get a call from the Queen to come and collect an award.

But that’s what happened to Gordon Murray last week.

The man who designed the car that took Ayrton Senna to the world title and also designed scores of other successful cars, is now a Commander of the British Empire.

Queen Elizabeth II awarded Murray the accolade in December for his services to motoring.

The CBE designation is one of five classes of the British order of chivalry, and is an extraordinarily high honour.

“It is extremely humbling to receive a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours,” Murray said.

“I’ve spent more than 50 years doing what I love, working with a wealth of highly talented and creative people around the world, but primarily in the UK.”

mclaren - Gordon Murray 2 - Queen recognises Murray for motoring magic
Gordon Murray . . . recognised for services to motoring.

Murray, who was born in Durban, South Africa, is best known as the man behind the McLaren F1, the powerhouse supercar that came out of the original McLaren Cars start-up in 1991.

Before then, he was the McLaren Racing Team’s technical director and spearheaded the development of both the 1987 McLaren MP4/3 and MP4/4.

The latter propelled Aryton Senna to his first Formula 1 championship win and from then until 1991, McLaren took home four consecutive Driver’s and Constructor’s championship titles.

In the 1988 F1 season, a McLaren racer won every race except the Italian Grand Prix.

He now runs Gordon Murray Design and the newly established Gordon Murray Automotive.

He also introduced GMD’s iStream construction to car makers and the first car to benefit from the F1-derived engineering practice will be the reborn TVR Griffith.

Car bodies made with Murray’s iStream construction replace traditional stamped metal with a high-strength, thin-wall aluminium tubular frame combined with recycled carbon-composite panels built in a honeycomb structure.

Murray says it can cut a body’s weight in half.

GMA has a new sports car in development, but Murray plans to tackle numerous auto segments in the future.

Sedans and even trucks are on the table with iStream construction.

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Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.