If for no other reason, love these cars for the utter straightforward simplicity of their name – they are exactly what they're called: Radical. While many sports car manufacturers claim the mantle as their own, few follow the creed of "racing car for the road" quite so faithfully as Radical, the small British outfit that produces track-day specials like the SR8. They may be certified for road use, but few concessions have been made towards comfort or usability. These cars are meant to be driven to the track and back home again.
As if its previous offerings weren't fast enough, Radical has now unveiled its latest race car for the road: the SR8LM. The LM designation should give you a clue in case the picture doesn't say it all. It's built to offer Le Mans prototype levels of performance to anyone with the means. While the "ordinary" SR8 is powered by a 360-hp Powertec-modified superbike engine from the Suzuki Hayabusa, bored out from 1.3-liters to 2.8 and designated RPA, the SR8LM gets the revised RPB powerplant pumping out a whopping 455 horses and revving to an atmospheric 10,500-rpm redline. The engine is mated to Radical's paddle-operated Powertec P-tec transaxle and PS1 pneumatic shifter that have been engineered for foot-to-the-floor upshifts and automatically blips the throttle on the way back down.
While we don't have performance stats just yet, Radical claims the new £89,000 SR8LM will keep pace with actual Le Mans prototype race cars. That's quite a claim, but considering that the previous 360hp SR8 already holds the record for fastest street-legal car to lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife at 6' 55", that may not be so far-fetched.
(Press release after the jump.)
Radical Launch 455bhp SR8LM
Already the fastest prototype on the club racing scene and with the Nürburgring Nordschleife lap record to its name, Radical's SR8 is now available with a more powerful Powertec V8 motor and an all-new Powertec transaxle.
The SR8LM, as the car is to be known, is powered by a 2.8 litre, 455bhp Powertec RPB motor which is based on the hugely successful 360bhp RPA motor. Like the RPA, the RPB utilises Suzuki GSXR 1300 cylinder heads mated to a Powertec designed and manufactured crank case assembly. Weighing in at only 88kg the RPB engine incorporates a four-pump dry sump system with two oil pressure pumps and integral rotary vane water pump. Powertec uprate both the cam shafts and cylinder heads and fit purpose-designed forged pistons and conrods. The twin-butterfly plenum induction system of the RPA is replaced with an eight-butterfly direct injection system, which dramatically improves response and drivability. With 30 hours between rebuilds, the fully warrantied RPB gives exceptional value as well as power.
Radical have also installed an 'in-house designed' Powertec P-tec six-speed transaxle which transmits the 455bhp and 10,500 maximum rpm of the Powertec motor to the circuit. Gear-change is via Radical's own paddle-operated power shifter which allows flat shifts going up the box and automatically 'blips' the throttle going down. A considerable amount of work has been carried out to match the Powertec P-tec transaxle with the pneumatically-operated Powertec PS1 shifter.
The result of all this technology is a car capable of matching a Le Mans prototype around most circuits, hence the 'LM' designation. Radical co-founder, Mick Hyde elaborates, "Many of our customers world wide, race their Radicals in multi-make sports car series and require a car that will beat all-comers. The SR8 is that car. It is the fastest off-the-shelf sports racer in the world (actually it takes six weeks to build one) and at £89K ready to race, the SR8LM is also extremely good value."
John Morris, Radical's USA West Coast distributor, recently took delivery of one of the first SR8 LM's at his Nevada race track - Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch; "When I first drove the car it reminded me of an F1 car. The sound, shifting, braking and pure acceleration that took place in a simple test ride. Brad, my brother-in-law, went out to shadow me to get a feel for the two cars. Brad is one of the fastest drivers on the 1.5 mile track in a new 1500cc SR3. The SR8 is truly an amazing car! Needless to say Brad might as well have been in a road car, because the SR8 left him in an instant. The engine is silky smooth with acceleration that just doesn't stop coming. The transmission shifts like butter and of course the car corners better than ever."
"All I can say is I'm sure you'll find this car to be truly the most formidable car you've ever driven. It's truly amazing and you'll have the biggest smile you've ever had within a few minutes on the track. You'll be thanking all the great guys at Radical for providing us with one very special car that few motorsports enthusiasts will ever experience!"