Around the world, UK-based Radical Sports Cars is known as the company that popularized the idea of the road-going sports-prototype racer. Here in the United States, where our almighty and flawless Federal Government tirelessly strives to prevent such a thing from creating a Mississippi-sized river of blood on the public highway, Radical is merely the 800-pound gorilla of prototype-style racing, with both its own private-label gentleman-level competitions and some presence in NASA and SCCA club events.
Driving a Radical is the sort of thing that will absolutely spoil you for common-and-garden supercars; even a Ferrari 488 Pista or Porsche GT2RS feels like a Tahoe Z71 after you’ve experienced 2g of lateral grip from eighteen inches above the ground. This unique feeling is why even middle-class dirtbags like your humble author will bankrupt themselves to become Radical owners—in my case, I have the decade-old but still exhilarating PR6 single-seater.
For most people, the name “Radical” is also synonymous with “motorcycle-powered.” The original cars of the Nineties used 1000cc superbike engines driving a rear differential via a chain, while most modern Radicals use a 1340cc or 1500cc variant of the Suzuki Hayabusa power plant coupled to a shaft drive. The mighty Radical SR8 used a bespoke V-8 that was kinda like two Hayabusa engines together. The power was stupendous, the noise was thrilling—and the rebuild costs are often similar to the sticker price of a new Honda Civic.
The new SR10 is Radical’s attempt to provide major-league power with single-A running costs, plus a little extra reliability thrown in on the side.
This 1600-pound car is powered by Ford’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-four, rebuilt and retuned by RPE (the powertrain side of Radical’s prep shop) to produce 425 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. A sequential Hewland box is controlled via a set of paddles mounted to a very sophisticated AIM display steering wheel.
The SR10 can be had as a single-seater or set up for race series that require two seats. I’ve taken people for passenger laps in a two-seat Radical; you will want to know these people very well ahead of time, because you will know them intimately afterwards. A wide variety of options, including air-jacks for endurance-series tire changes and a power-steering system that probably isn’t necessary for any average-sized, reasonably-fit adult, can be had at additional cost.
Patrick Morgan of Team Stradale, Radical’s Chicago-area dealer known for their fearsome presence at Autobahn Country Club, offered the following:
“With a broader, less-peaky power curve, the SR10’s smooth transitional power reduces the intimidation factor and allows novice drivers a more controlled experience. Power steering is now an option, and improved dash electronics will keep real-time data at your fingertips. Better yet, experienced drivers will set new personal best times at every circuit they visit and enjoy the challenge of faster speeds.
“This new powerplant means warmup procedures are quicker and service intervals are far less frequent. This is the SR10’s breakthrough feature, and one made specifically for drivers who have access to race tracks daily and accumulate engine hours rapidly. The SR10’s significant power output now offers them their next driving challenge.”
As soon as possible, we will get my trusty old Radical up to the track for a comparison with the new SR10—the lap times won’t be close, but neither will the cost of acquisition. About that: Don’t expect much change from the proverbial $140,000 bill. The good news is that nothing in showrooms at even double that price stands a chance of keeping up on most tracks.
Wouldn’t it be neat to have one of these as a daily driver, especially on sunny days? If you feel that way, there are two calls you need to make. The first one is to your local Radical dealer, and the second one will be to your local Congress-person.