2015 Elemental RP-1

Open top road/track cars have become the rage these days. That’s especially true in Great Britain where seemingly a new startup comes to life promising to take the segment to a new level. Elemental is the latest to try its luck and it has come out swinging, unveiling the RP-1 and promising to lay waste to the KTM X-Bow and the Ariel Atom .

It’s an awfully difficult segment to launch new products into, especially when it’s pitted against some very established competitors. But Elemental is undaunted and the British company is relishing the opportunity to prove its worth with the RP-1.

You can’t blame the company for at least being confident. After all, the RP-1 is being promised as an evolution of the road and track car and taking it to a new level with a package that includes a powerful Ford EcoBoost engine wrapped in a lightweight carbon fiber body.

In a perfect world, such proclamations are treated with wide-eyed admiration. But with so many of this kind of cars in the market, Elemental still needs to prove itself before it’s treated with the same reverence as a company like Ariel.

The company has gotten the ball rolling in that regard. Now comes the time where the RP-1 prove its worth.

Updated 06/23/2014: The first images on the Elemental RP-1 were revealed before the car’s official debut at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Enjoy!

Click past the jump to read more about the Elemental RP-1.

Exterior

Elemental RP-1

A full body shot of the RP-1 has yet to be revealed, partly because Elemental is waiting for the Goodwood Festival of Speed before unveiling its open-top road and track car. But these teaser photos do show a car that has spent a lot of time on the design table.

Word has it that different prototypes of the RP-1 were built with different materials, including aluminum and carbon fiber. In the end, Elemental opted for a new patented carbon composite and aluminum tub, combining the two materials to create a car that reportedly weighs just 992 pounds (450 kg).

The design looks really eye-catching, largely attributed by its sharp angles and large wheel arches, two common styling cues for a road and track car. The rear section also features what looks like a single exhaust that’s prominently placed in the top-middle part of the rear, further emphasizing the dramatic styling of the RP-1.

Interior

Elemental RP-1

There are few details of the RP-1’s interior at the moment. Teaser photos do show a single-seater configuration with a single racing seat to go with a matching red five-point harness. The hand brake is to the left of the driver, not surprising considering that the RP-1 is a British-born car. The steering wheel looks small but agile and a programmable dash display shows a bevy of useful information, including links to built-in cameras throughout the racer.

Drivetrain

Elemental RP-1

The Elemental RP-1 is powered by a 2.0-liter Ford EcoBoost engine that’s expected to develop 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Given its weight, the RP-1 is a lot faster and more powerful than its output indicates. Elemental claims that it can pull off 500 horsepower per ton, which is just bonkers if this claim is true.

Pricing

Elemental RP-1

Pricing has yet to be announced, but judging by how Elemental has taken to its preparations for the RP-1, don’t be surprised if it sells for at least £60,000, which is just over $100,000 based on current exchange rates.

Competitors

KTM X-Bow

KTM X-Bow GT

The Elemental RP-1 will have no shortage of competitors once it hits the market. But if it really wants to make a splash, it should have its eye on the KTM X-Bow, a similar road and track car that has been designed with power and speed in mind.

The X-Bow GT is powered by a 2.0-liter TSFI four-banger that produces 281 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 309 pound-feet of torque at 3,200 rpm, allowing it to hit 62 mph in just 4.1 seconds to go with a top speed of 143 mph. Those numbers are impressive for a car of its size, but the RP-1’s lighter weight should make the X-Bow a little concerned.

Ariel Atom 3.5R

Ariel Atom 3.5R

The increasingly mental Ariel continues to blow away customers with radical new approaches to its rocket ships. The Atom 3.5R is the latest iteration to this bonkers family, adding a new rear wing and optional side pods in front of the rear wheels to go with its always incredible performance credentials.

Power for the Atom 3.5R comes by way of a supercharged 2.0-liter iVTEC engine that develops 350 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to hit 0-60 mph in a blistering 2.6 seconds to go with an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

Conclusion

Elemental RP-1

Elemental is promising a lot of awesome things, but we’ve been through this song and dance before. We’ll give them credit for reaching for the pinnacle of this segment, but until we see the RP-1 perform on the road and the track, we’ll reserve our judgment out of respect for the Atoms and X-Bows of the world.

LOVE IT
  • Looks stealthy
  • Built with high quality materials
  • Light and powerful
LEAVE IT
  • No price yet
  • How does it stack up against the competition

What is your take?

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