At its world premiere at the Autosport International show earlier this month, UK-based Radical Sportscars unveiled its latest flagship track-day special: the RXC Spyder. For all intents and purposes, this open-cockpit, mid-engine, mini-LMP looks to be an absolute monster, with a powerplant that can rev forever and a chassis capable of tracking down checkered flags like a shark to blood.

The Spyder has already eclipsed the lap times set by Radical’s previous “ultimate racer,” the SR8 RX, with more speed promised after further development. As with any new vehicle most at home on a starting grid, the Spyder represents Radical’s ongoing effort in performance and handling optimization.

At well over six figures, this is one very expensive plaything. But for anyone brave enough to take the plunge, the Spyder promises a racing experience unparalleled this side of Le Mans. The engine revs past 10,000 rpm, the grip will beat you senseless, and the downforce is as effective as hammering a nail. Come race day, there are precious few vehicles that are even capable of coming close to it. It’s the kind of package that inspires mere mortals to transcend to the realm of superheroes. It’s the kind of car that can mold bronze divinities from squishy grey lumps of clay. It really is that good.

Click past the jump to read more about the Radical RXC Spyder.

Exterior

2015 Radical RXC Spyder Exterior
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Before you post comments on how ugly you think this car looks, let me remind you that such observations are as pointless as criticizing the color of a screwdriver. This car is a tool for creating speed — nothing more, nothing less. But if you believe that form follows function, you probably think — like I do — that it’s absolutely stunning.

With that in mind, the Spyder’s body shape is a combination of its RXC closed-cockpit sibling, and Radical’s SR9 LMP2 racer. It also enjoys the same aerodynamic balance as the SR3 RSX, with multi-piece composite front and rear diffusers and a full-width carbon bi-plane rear wing. Total downforce at maximum velocity is rated at just under one ton — basically the weight of the car.

The Spyder is also physically larger than the current SR8 RX, which allows for the installation of an FIA-certified, 26.4-gallon fuel cell, which is offered with an optional dual dry-break refueling system for endurance events.

The Spyder’s chassis is a high-tensile-strength CDS carbon fiber tubular steel spaceframe, with front and rear FIA-spec crash boxes. The body panels are all modular composite pieces, which helps when things go awry and replacements are quickly needed. The adjustable wing mirrors are also made from carbon fiber. Finally, Radical threw in a full lighting system, including LED daytime running lights.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 4,300 MM (169.29 Inches)
Width 1,960 MM (77.16 Inches)
Height 1,127 MM (44.37 Inches)

Interior


Thanks to its extended exterior dimensions, the interior of the RXC Spyder is also roomier, making it the largest open cockpit that Radical’s ever made.

Of course, that’s like being skinniest kid at fat camp, because this is still a race car we’re talking about. I doubt you’ll notice the extra space when clipping apexes and setting up a passing zone.

A new AIM MXG dash logger sits front and center, and features a 7-inch, high-contrast TFT display, equipped with WiFi connectivity to quickly download all pertinent data. There’s also a digital tachometer and LED shift lights. The instruments are integrated with the nose to allow for maximum visibility and minimum aerodynamic disruption, and everything is weatherproofed for those rainy Sundays — as if you’d want to drive this monster in the rain.

Between the instruments and the driver sits a fully adjustable, multi-function steering wheel. Feedback through this unit is enhanced by variable-assist power steering, while a set of flappy paddles are in place to handle upshifts and downshifts.

The Spyder-specific, FIA-certified, HANS-compatible bucket seats are also adjustable, as is the pedal box, opening up the possibility for a quick driver swap should the need arise. Finally, a six-point harness keeps all those squishy bits in one place.

Drivetrain

2015 Radical RXC Spyder Exterior
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The screaming heart of the RXC Spyder is Radical’s latest iteration the RPE V-8, a naturally aspirated, 3.0-liter, 72 degree flat-plane-crank unit with eight individual, 45-mm (1.8-inch) throttle bodies. Total output is rated at 440 horsepower at 9,100 rpm, and 280 pound-feet of torque at 7,500 rpm. Redline is 10,500 rpm. For a car weighing only 1,896 pounds, that’s enormous power to wield.

Despite spinning fast enough to turn back time, the RPE V-8 is also remarkably reliable, at least for a race engine. Keeping it cool and lubed is a high-flow-rate oil system, integral four-pump oil scavenging system, and two oil pumps. This helps the car endure up to 40 hours of abuse between rebuilds, which Radical claims is the equivalent of an entire race season.

Putting that power to the rear wheels is a seven-speed, transverse Quaife gearbox equipped with autoblip. Just hit a paddle, and the revs match, giving you more time to set up that perfect exit.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 72° 3.0-litre RPE V-8 engine
Power 440 HP @ 9,100 RPM
Torque 280 LB-FT @ 7500 RPM
Weight from 860 KG (1,895 LBS)
Power to weight ratio 558hp/tonne
Transmission Bespoke 7-speed transverse Quaife gearbox with paddle shift and autoblip

Suspension and Handling

2015 Radical RXC Spyder High Resolution Exterior
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Sporting the same weight distribution as the SR3 RSX, the RXC Spyder comes with all the right rigging for carrying momentum through the corners. It has a fully adjustable, inboard pushrod suspension, with front and rear double wishbones and Intrax dampers.

Large contact patches are provided by the Dunlop SP Sport, 235/620 front and 290/645 rear tires. These are mounted on 18-inch, center-lock, cast-alloy wheels, which are 9.5-inches wide in the front and 11.5-inches wide in the rear. Behind all that are fully floating disc brakes with six-pot calipers, which clamp down on ventilated rotors measuring 350 mm (13.8 inches) in front and 310 mm (12.2 inches) out back

Prices

2015 Radical RXC Spyder High Resolution Exterior
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Here comes the not-so-spectacular section of the review: The Radical RXC Spyder starts at £109,950, which is $166,526 at current exchange rates (1/28/15). Unfortunately, that is quite the hefty figure for something you can’t even drive on public roads. However, looking at the performance capabilities, $166K is an amount that’s not really that surprising. Check out the competition to see what I mean.

Competition

Ariel Atom V8 500

2012 Ariel Atom V8 500 Exterior
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As if the previous Atoms were just a bit too tame, Ariel went ahead and stuffed a V-8 into its ultra-lightweight performance powerhouse because… Well, it doesn’t really matter why the company did it. The fact that a V-8 Atom exists at all is enough justification to celebrate the incredible potential of petrol power.

And what potential it is. With 500 horsepower motivating just 1,213 pounds, the V-8 Atom will hit 60 mph in only 2.3 seconds. Then it’ll use its semi-slick tires to go around a bend with enough stick to liberate your eyeballs from their sockets.

Like the RXC Spyder, the Atom has a 3.0-liter V-8, an open cockpit, and copious aerodynamic enhancements. On paper, it might even best the beastly Radical. However, you’ll pay quite the pretty penny for such supremacy, with prices when new looking like $225,000.

Ginetta-Juno LMP Track Car

2015 Ginetta-Juno LMP Track Car Exterior
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With a body that mimics the closed-cockpit LMP1 and LMP2 racers, this car from Ginetta-Juno would sit comfortably on the grid at Le Mans. Which is good, because that’s exactly what it was built to do.

Designated to compete in the LMP3 class of the European and Asian Le Mans Series, the Ginetta-Juno track car is every inch the endurance competitor you’d expect for such a prestigious series.

Powered by a Nissan- sourced, 500 horsepower V-8, this vehicle also boasts a six-speed paddle-shifter gearbox, high-capacity fuel system, a racing traction control system, and even air conditioning for those long, brutal lap sessions. Total cost is about $150,000, which is actually quite low, considering the average cost of Le Mans prototypes.

Conclusion

Radical is currently taking orders for the RXC Spyder, with test-drives available at UK and other European track locations. If you want all the trimmings of a true race car, and the visceral experience of driving at ten tenths in one of the most capable vehicles on the planet, you could do a lot worse than the Spyder. It’s the classic Radical formula pushed even further into the stratosphere. Sure, you could pay less, but you’d end up with a weapon that was a bit dull by comparison. You could also go a bit faster, but the expense would be much higher. The Spyder seems to hit that sweet spot of speed and value. Just try to keep it on the track.

  • Leave it
    • * Still a lot of money for a track toy
    • * No room for groceries
    • * Could mess up your hair

Press Release

Following its world premiere at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham just two weeks ago, the RXC Spyder has completed six successful days of continual testing at Race Resort Ascari in Spain, proving itself to be fast, reliable and fantastic to drive.

2015 Radical RXC Spyder High Resolution Exterior
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Test & Development driver James Abbott had the honour of giving Radical’s new flagship racer its first laps, and immediately praised the car’s performance and confident handling. Performance and handling optimisation has continued during the test with the car displaying instant improvements with each setup change.

The RXC Spyder has the same aerodynamic balance and weight distribution as the SR3 RSX, whilst being powered by the latest 3.0-litre generation of the in-house RPE V8 engine. Using latest generation technology shared with the RXC V8 coupe including a new seven-speed paddleshift gearbox and variable-assistance power steering, the RXC Spyder enjoys larger dimensions than the current SR8 RX, allowing for a bigger and more generously-appointed cockpit than any previous open Radical and with a greater range of driving aids and benefits than previously available.

Sir Chris Hoy also spent two days with the Radical Works Team at Ascari in preparation for his Radical European Masters season, completing over 100 laps in the SR3 RSX and SR8 RX as well as the RXC Spyder. He commented afterwards that he couldn’t be more thrilled with the performance and driveability of the new models and is very much looking forward to taking part in the 2015 Radical European Masters season, which will form part of his Road to Le Mans programme.

In just a few days on-track the RXC Spyder has already exceeded the pace of Radical’s longstanding SR8 RX model with more pace to be found as development continues over the coming weeks. You can get an idea of the RXC Spyder’s pace and balance from the video below, which demonstrates the driveability and pace despite there being ice on the circuit!

2015 Radical RXC Spyder High Resolution Exterior
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The RXC Spyder is Radical’s new flagship racing car offering an LMP experience at far lower purchase and running costs. Orders are being taken now with 15 already in-line for handover before the beginning of the 2015 Radical racing season. Test drives are available now at Ascari and a number of UK and European locations; click here to find out more and book a test drive.

The new-for-2015 Radical SR3 RSX was also in action at Ascari with a number of current and potential Radical owners testing this latest iteration; and all praising the Generation 3 engine, updated front and rear aerodynamic package, hard-line braking system and new AIM MXL2 dash system. Find out more about the incredible SR3 RSX here.

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