• Aug 20th 2009 at 5:20PM
  • 27
Radical SR8LM at the 'Ring – Click above for image gallery

What's the best way to set the fastest lap time for a street legal car? Make it as close to a race car as possible. And that's exactly what British carmaker Radical does best. They've held the Nürburgring Nordschleife lap record since running their SR8 there in 2005, setting a 6:55 lap time that remains well out of reach for anything less, well...radical, including the Dodge Viper ACR's 7:22.1 and the Gumpert Apollo Speed's 7:11.5 from just a few days ago. But never content to let their record stand, Radical headed back to Eiffel to raise the bar even further.

Upgrading on the 360 horsepower SR8 that set the record four years ago, the SR8LM was introduced in 2007 with a 455 hp modified Suzuki Hayabusa engine mounted in a compact Le Mans Prototype-style body. But despite its racecar styling and tarmac-scraping ride height, the Radical is completely street legal. Somewhere. As proof, Michael Vergers drove it down from the factory in England all the way to the vaunted German circuit, and within 24 hours, he had set the new record. The 6:48 lap time, a full eight seconds quicker than Radical's previous record, was verified by Germany's Sport Auto and England's Evo magazines using Dunlop racing slicks. Check out the press release after the jump for more details and the photos in the gallery below.

[Source: Radical]


Radical Smash Nordschleife Lap Record

Peterborough sportscar manufacturer Radical Sportscars has smashed the Nürburgring production car lap record, with driver Michael Vergers posting a committed 6m48s lap time. The road-legal SR8LM smashed the previous record, also held by Radical since 2005, by an incredible eight seconds. All this, less than 24 hours after the car was driven from England to Germany for the record.

German motoring magazine Sport Auto oversaw the attempt, with the UK's evo magazine confirming the time, which will be officially finalised tomorrow (Thursday).

Conditions for the record were perfect, with clear skies and temperatures in the high 20s. Vergers initially battled with the Nordschleife's fearsome kerbs, jumps and bumps, but soon found the ideal setup, inspiring confidence to push harder.

"The car was great, I could push really hard and it felt clearly faster than the previous SR8 in 2005," said Vergers. "It's fantastic that we've beaten the record; hopefully I'll get an opportunity to return with Radical in the future."

Radical co-founder Mick Hyde said: "I'm obviously delighted, the record has been a real team effort headed up by Phil Abbott and Rob Wheldon. Dunlop have supplied us with brilliant, hard-wearing trackday tyres, indeed we've only used one set to both drive to the 'Ring, and set the record.

"We've proved that the SR8LM is not only the world's best trackday car, but it's also practical enough to drive to and from the circuit. It is a genuine production sportscar, with genuine performance credentials, as we've shown today."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      WHO CARES! Only thing that matters is what can can run the ring fastest with the MOST sex appeal!!!! then and only then will lamen people truly care the way we gearheads care. Radical = zero sex appeal or style for that matter. looks like a flippin kit car from the back of popular mechanics.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have watched these cars being built in Pahrump, NV http://www.radicalmotorsport.com/ These cars are crazy fast and you can start building your own for about $50k. They go way up from there and once you start adding carbon fiber bodies. Their bone stock $50k car is faster around ther track than a GT3 or a Z06! Fun place to check out if you are ever in the area and no I am not associated in any way...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hi Guys, I'm from Radical and am still here at the Nordschleife. We're all really pleased that you guys in the US are taking interest in our record. Just to clear a few things up, so you know:
      A few people have questioned the tyres. Although the Autoblog story says we used slicks, this isn't actually true. Dunlop now produce a road-legal tyre, with tread, that is specially designed for trackday cars like the SR8, Atom, Gumpert etc. It's not quite as fast as a proper slick...but then you couldn't get a racing tyre to last all the way from the UK anyway. The Dunlop Direzza tyre is completely standard and the same as sold across Europe, Asia and the US.
      Speed bumps. It's true that our race cars would struggle with them, but they run a much lower ride height. For the road, we raise the ride to 100mm; absolutely fine for any speed bump we've come across. Also, because the ride is fairly stiff, the car doesn't tend to compress onto the bumps. We had no problems getting on/off the ferry from the UK to France, which I think proves the point fairly well.
      As for the road-legal argument...it's something we knew would stir debate. Our point is: we sell 100 cars a year, so it's not a one-off; the cars meet exactly the same road-legal requirements as all other manufacturers in Europe (indeed, we meet the new IVA; not all trackday manufacturers do), and there was no 'special treatment' for the record car. Some manufacturers send their car off for additional work prior to a 'Ring attempt; we didn't need to.

      In short, send us a deposit, and in 8-10 weeks you can have the fastest car around the 'Ring, in a choice of colours. Simple really...
      • 6 Years Ago
      On the radical website - http://www.radicalsportscars.com/news/international-news/2009/08/20/radical-smash-nordschleife-lap-record - it says they drove to the Nurburgring on the dunlop tires, so they're almost definitely road legal. And for a car to be road legal in the UK, it has to be able to clear a speedbump so its weird that people are questioning the car's roadworthiness. It may not be legal in the US but who cares, it'd be like discrediting a lap from the Porsche 959 because its not legal there either. Anyway i'm sure the british made (and road legal) Ultima GTR800 would beat the SR8LM's time regardless.. or other British made cars like the Caparo T1 or the Ariel Atom 500.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm sure a Caparo T1 would be one of the slowest cars ever around the track. Sure, it could theoretically do it faster than this, probably around 6:30... but has one ever been driven hard for more than 5 minutes or so consecutively without blowing up or something? The segment on Top Gear about it would lead me to believe otherwise...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Would have been quite interesting if they met the german police on their way to the Nordschleife with these tires, because on public roads they are the Rennleitung ;)
      JDM Life
      • 6 Years Ago
      These cars are not really the same as the Viper and etc these cars have a upper hand.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just out of curiosity, are those racing slicks street legal? And do they come on the car from the factory? Regardless, a wicked fast time!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah the Brits make some exceptions to the usual road-legality requirements for cars sold in very small numbers, and also have a much wider definition of a kit-car - hence things like this can get on the road legally over there (and in Europe in general).

        Pretty good idea, in my opinion. Allows smaller, more specialized manufacturers to innovate and sell cool cars without the prohibitive costs of crash-test certifying and environmental testing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah right! I wouldn't want to be the first one to try and register this in North America. Even if you were successful in getting this beast on the road, every cop you meet would pull your a$$ over and give you the third degree, because they wouldn't believe it.

      I couldn't imagine how you would get any insurance company to insure it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        no one is implying that you should actually or even could actually drive this on public roads, only that it technically meets the standards for the "class" that it "competes" in N-ring lap time "records"

        this is the ultimate example of gaming the test.

        if the people who run the N-ring were smart, they would hold a one day test once a year where they provided the cars and the automakers provided the drivers and tried to out compete each other. a more entertaining form of racing i can't imagine, actual street models rolled right off a random dealers lot going at 11/10ths. someone get to work on that.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Radical is not street legal in the US. Some European countries, notably the UK and Germany will allow street legal racers like this.
        • 6 Years Ago
        very good point
      • 6 Years Ago
      But can it go over a speed bump?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Can it? Yes.
        Will it survive? Probably not.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Er...using Dunlop racing slicks? These better be street legal tyres, or there could be trouble...
      • 6 Years Ago
      So a race car went fast around the Nürburgring ::pause:: No Sh*T!
      • 6 Years Ago
      you know I'm sure the 500HP Ariel Atom would be able to lap it Excessively fast.

      maybe a bugatti veryon could do it in under 6
        • 6 Years Ago

        the Veyron was never teasted at the Ring by any magazine...the 7:40min is a fake laptime claim that goes around the net since years..
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