Radical has become one of those car companies that just “gets it.” They understand that not everyone is a multi-millionaire that can afford to drop several hundred thousand dollars on a racecar as an amateur. Radical-built sports cars like the SR4, PR6, and SR3 all come in at under $100K, so even a lower-budget racer can get into the sport.
For those that are a little more seasoned in racing and have the extra capital to spend, Radical can certainly cater to you too. One model that caters nicely to this group of more affluent racers is the Radical SR8 RX. This model sits just below Radical’s range-topping SR9, and is defines as “quite simply the world’s fastest production sports car.” The SR8 line is even the world record holder for fastest time around the famed Nürburgring, as its LM variant tackled the `Ring in just 6:48.
So how does the SR8 RX stack up against the rest of the racing world?
Click past the jump to find out.
The SR8’s body is very similar to its brother, the SR3, as it boasts high fenders, a sloped nose, and an airplane-like fuselage. Its front end is an aluminum honeycomb design, as to comply with FIA crash regulations. This honeycomb-style construction is designed to absorb the impact of a frontal collision with minimal stress on the driver.
The body is made up of six pieces, all constructed from gel-coated fiberglass. The front cockpit fairing has a quick-release feature, making it simple to remove and reinstall it for repairs. Behind large plastic covers sit dual headlights on each side. There is no mention of what type of headlights these are, but we assume they are either Xenon or HID. A cooling duct integrated into the front of the car’s fuselage distributes cold air to each brake, via a series of carbon-fiber tubes.
The rear section of the SR8 RX is removable as well, boasting an integrated engine induction and ventilation louvers. The rear wing is a bi-plane design, meaning it has two wings in one, and boasts aluminum side wings to help with the vehicle’s high-speed stability.
On the outside, you are getting a car that is set to race straight from the showroom floor. All it needs is a driver.
Much like the outside, the inside of the SR8 RX is setup purely for racing. It boasts a 2-seater, powder-coated carbon steel spaceframe chassis. This chassis also features a safety shell, which protects the driver and passenger from harm, even if the car is ripped to shreds. Contained within the safety cell is a 77-liter, foam-filled aluminum gas tank. The pedal box on the SR8 RX is fully adjustable to compensate for drivers with larger feet or longer legs.
In front of the driver is your typical quick-release steering wheel. There is also an instrument cluster that features as LED tachometer, gear shift indicator, shift light, four LCD displays of various engine data (speed, temperature, oil pressure, etc.), and a series of warning lights. You also get the obligatory fire extinguisher, in case things get a little, uh, hot.
The outlay around the instrument cluster is fabricated from carbon fiber, so it not only looks pretty sweet, but also saves a good bit of weight.
Engine and Drivetrain
Mounted in the rear of the SR8 RX is an RPX 72-degree 2.7-liter V-8 engine boasting an 8-butterfly throttle body injection system. This engine pumps out an extremely impressive 430 horsepower. This becomes even more impressive when you take into account that this car only weighs in at 680 kg (1,499 lbs), and you have one bad-ass machine. To keep this engine properly lubed and cooled, Radical had to install a 4-pump oil scavenge system, two oil pressure pumps and a rotating vane water pump.
The engine links up to a Powertec P-Tec 6-speed sequential transaxle with fully interchangeable gear sets for different track styles. This transmission hooks up to the engine via a lightweight steel flywheel and a twin-plate clutch. The transmission throws power through a torque-biasing limited slip differential that quickly shifts the torque from a slipping wheel to the gripping wheel.
Keeping the transaxle cool is apparently a big job on this SR8 RX, as it also boasts a transmission oil pump and a transmission radiator. Unlike its little brother, the Radical PR6, the SR8 RX is not chain-driven.
The driveline features an auto-blipper system, which allows for flat upshifts and clutch-free downshift, which allows its driver to make best use of the car’s torque.
All of this technical mumbo-jumbo translates into pure performance, as the SR8 RX hit 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds, and goes from 50 to 100 mph in just 4.3 seconds. It also translates into a top speed of 175 mph.
Suspension and Braking
On each front corner of the SR8 RX sits an 8- x 15-inch cast aluminum center-lock wheel, and on the rear corners you get the same style of wheels, just slightly larger at 10.5 x 16 inches. Wrapped around these rims are Dunlop slicks designed for tackling a road course.
Also on the corners, you get fully adjustable Nik suspension systems. This system includes unequal-length upper and lower control arms, which allow for negative camber to help in the twisties. You also get interchangeable roll kits, which allow you to install stiffer or softer bushings, depending on the track. This suspension system also boasts single-adjustable, mono-tube, titanium, low-friction coil-over shock dampers.
The rotors measure in at 280 mm x 25 mm (11.02 x 0.98 inches) and they feature 48 vanes for quick cooling. Squeezing the brake pads onto these large rotors are Radical 4-piston calipers.
These braking and suspension components all equal out to this car handle 2 braking Gs and 2.5 cornering (lateral) Gs. Both numbers are extremely impressive and prove that this car is truly built to dominate.
When it comes down to pricing this car, you have to remember that we are talking about a true racecar that holds the lap record at the Nürburgring. Most racecars of this caliber fetch at least $500,000, but Radical managed to fit all of this into a base price of just $162,000 to $250,000, plus tax and import duty, if applicable.
First of all, you are getting a bad-ass racecar for under $250K. Secondly, it is legendary, as it holds the Nürburgring record. Lastly, and by far the coolest part, this racecar is not just for racing. Nope, it is also 100 percent street legal, thanks to the addition of signals, headlights, and taillights. The only thing that would not be legal in some states is the fitment of slick tires on it.
This bad boy definitely gets our seal of approval. This car is truly a Bugatti, Ferrari, and Lamborghini killer all wrapped into a sub-$200K package. That’s just pure awesomeness.
2.7 seconds to 60 mph
2.5 lateral Gs is complete insanity