Radical is not one of the most recognizable sports car manufacturers in the world, and there is a reason for that. You see, Radical is not a brand built for high volume. The manufacturer specifically caters to the elite enthusiasts who, in their search for adrenaline, are looking for thoroughbred racers.
First launched back in 2002, the SR3 RS is one of the most popular and successful models by the British manufacturer. Built to FIA standards and design cues inspired by theLeMans -racing Radical SR9 LMP2, the current-generation SR3 RS is all about gaining the best performance by improving aerodynamics and decreasing weight.
With seating for two and a chassis built for going around corners fast, the SR3 RS is one of the most fun yet terrifying track-day cars for both the driver and the passenger.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Radical SR3 RS.
The objective behind the SR3 RS is pretty simple: make one of the most extreme and crazy track toys. To achieve that, Radical has taken up the most simple and effective approach by decreasing weight and adding power. While doing that, the exterior design has been approached in the same way. The body is there to achieve the best downforce and reduce drag, not look good.
The exterior design of the SR3 RS takes a minimalist approach. Things are there only if they add speed or strength to the frame, everything else has been deemed unnecessary. In case you want to feel more like a pro driver, you can also have your name on the sides of the cockpit.
Up front, the car features a Formula 1 -style nose and just like an F1 car, you don’t get a windshield either. Huge air intakes on the sides and full-underfloor diffusers are present for the sole purpose of increasing performance and grip on the road. Out back, a large wing adds to the downforce when traveling at high speeds.
The result - a car that isn’t really what one would call "beautiful." We aren’t really saying that it is ugly, just that its looks are irrelevant to the task at hand. It really is a case of "form follows function." As long as it goes fast who really cares?
2014 Radical SR3 RS - Exterior Dimensions
|Length||4,100 mm (161.41 inches)|
|Height||1,040 mm (40.94 inches)|
|Width||1,790 mm (70.47 inches)|
|Min Weight||570 kg (1,256 pounds)|
As with the exterior, the interior of the SR3 RS is all about saving weight and adding strength wherever possible. Basic creature comforts are not really a priority in the car so if you want A/C or a music system, then this certainly isn’t what you are looking for.
Bathed with naked carbon fiber, and featuring padded seats, Radical reaffirms its goal of keeping the curb weight low. Lots of toggle switches on the inside give the option to choose from the various modes and also give a kind of vintage fighter jet cockpit feel.
On the inside, the SR3 RS can seat two people — barely. The extremely low ride height and the stiff suspension will certainly do their best to churn your stomach too, but if you are up for it and the neck breaking G forces are your thing, then this is the toy for you.
Powering the SR3 is a 1.34-liter four-cylinder motorcycle engine from Suzuki that is capable of pushing out 210 horsepower to the wheels via a six-speed sequential transmission. 210 horsepower may not really sound like much, but it weighs just 1,256 pounds, so the power-to-weight ratio is really up there with some of the best sports cars available today.
Sixty mph blows by in just 3.1 seconds, and the needle keeps going to a maximum speed of 155 mph. That may not be too much power and there are certainly more powerful alternatives out there, but as a track car, it really is all about torque and handling.
2014 Radical SR3 RS - Exterior Dimensions
|Type||1340 CC Four-cylinder double overhead cam engine|
|Torque||130 LB-FT @ 10,500 RPM|
|Max Speed||155 MPH|
|0-60 MPH||3.1 sec|
|50-100 MPH||5.3 sec|
|SPA Laptime||2m 25sec|
Prices for the base version of the 2014 SR3 RS is expected to begin at $95,000 in the U.S., and can be expected to go up to $130,000 for the fully loaded version.
Another British track toy and probably one of the best looking track vehicles in the market is the the BAC Mono . It is available only as a single seater and it looks more like a futuristic robot than a car. Under the hood is a 2.3-liter engine putting out 280 horsepower, so it’s certainly a more powerful option compared to the Radical. Pricing is in the same range as the Radical and it’s road legal too, so certainly something to ponder about if you are looking for a track car that is also road legal.
Probably one of the relatively civilized options in track cars, the Austrian car is powered by a 2.0-liter, 280-horsepower engine. However weighing in at 1,867 pounds, it’s also much heavier than the Radical. Pricing is in the same range as the Radical and the BAC. However the X-Bow GT now comes with windshield and doors with some additional relatively luxurious features so if you are looking for a slightly less insane ride, this just might be the one for you.
The Radical SR3 RS is one of those cars where you just cannot go by rational reasoning to justify why it’s good. It is not really a looker, certainly not the most powerful and it’s expensive for a car that is only going to be driven on the weekends. It’s built purely for fun, going around tracks fast and experiencing neck-breaking forces to test your body’s limit.
- Unadulterated purpose-built machine
- Twin seating
- Minimalist approach
- Not for daily usage
- Not really beautiful
Gallery Radical SR3 RS
Radical Sportscars’ continual quest to reduce the cost of racing, while maintaining all the thrills has taken yet another significant step forward with the introduction of the RPE 1500 Generation 3 short stroke engine for the 2014 Radical SR3 RS.
The capacity reduction from a reduced stroke has been equalised by increase bore size, developments in camshaft specification, a larger air box and the introduction of longer trumpets so that on-track performance remains as before. Other benefits include a reduction in high-frequency vibration, leading to smoother running characteristics and increased component longevity, particularly camshaft drivetrain.
This engine was tested extensively throughout 2013, including racing in the non-championship feature races at Oulton Park and Snetterton, where Radical’s chief development driver James Abbott matched his times from the SR3 Challenge races.
The benefits of this new powerplant include increased intervals between rebuilds. The factory warranty for this engine has been increased from 40 to 45 hours. Radical remains the only manufacturer in the world that offers this level of comprehensive factory warranties on all road and race engines.
The RPE 1500 Generation 3 short stroke engines produce lower levels of CO2, both in the manufacturing process and in running, through greater efficiency and reduced weight.
These new engines and the previous generation of RPE 1500cc engines will both be eligible for all 2014 and 2015 Radical SR3 Championships – the Radical Clubman’s Cup, Grove & Dean Motorsport Insurance Radical SR3 Challenge and Radical European Masters. From 2016 onwards only the RPE 1500 Generation 3 short stroke engine will be eligible. These new units are easily identified by the larger capacity, red air boxes.