Amid all the big boys and all the very fast (and expensive) big boys’ toys at the Geneva Motor Show it could be easy to miss the quiet new kid in the corner…
But then even in this exalted world of supercardom gone crazy Radical doesn’t need to make much of a fuss. It might be at Geneva for the first time but it is already school sports day champion – and has been for the past 10 years.
At least as far as the Nurburgring Nordschleife is concerned.
And now as the opposition is closing in (the Porsche 918 Spider is also under 7mins in the ‘Ring production-car stakes, McLaren and Ferrari yet to declare) Radical plans to stretch its lead with a new car debuting at Geneva – the RXC Turbo 500. You can read all about that here.
‘We talk about the car being road legal but no one is in any doubt that this is a race car that we managed to put on the road.’
We know the figures (462bhp per tonne and 0-100mph in 6.8secs), but what does the boss make of it all? GRR tracked down Radical’s MD Phil Abbott for his take on Geneva, the car, and the August attempt to stay in the record books…
What everyone wants to know is: what are you expecting the new ‘Ring time to be?
6min 48sec is our record so 6:47 will be enough. That’s a hell of a time. I am not predicting anything more than that.
But you are very confident of beating your existing record?
The thing is Michael Vergers in the Radical SR8 never topped 167mph for that 6:48 lap. We haven’t done top speed runs yet but I am sure top speed of the new car is well over 180mph. There are enough significant straights at the ‘Ring that 180-190mph will make a difference.
How have you found the higher top speed?
The SR8 was very quick around corners but the car never topped 167mph because it didn’t have the torque. The new car does. This Ford EcoBoost V6 is so sophisticated and just a jewel of an engine. It has a massive 30deg swing on the cams so with all the electronic controls we can tailor the characteristics of the engine to suit (our purpose). And what we have done is bring the torque up to the higher end. Basically we turned the power curve around so it looks now like a normally-aspirated power curve, not a turbo curve at all. It drives beautifully.
Who’ll drive the RXC Turbo 500 at the ‘Ring in August?
I am not sure yet. Vergers is desperate to have another go and he will definitely be part of the development crew. Last time it had to be a UK registered car that we drove over, but now with European type approval this time it will be a German-registered car, so we may look at a German driver.
What does the ‘Ring production car record mean to Radical?
It’s one of the ways we can lock horns with the big boys. When we started this company one of our dreams was to lock horns with them at Le Mans. Then amateurs could go to Le Mans and acquit themselves well. But you can’t do that anymore. So for us the ‘Ring is a world-renowned thing where we can go up against the big boys.
Any other claims to fame for the Turbo 500?
It is massively quieter than the SR8 so it should be a much better bet for track days (like Goodwood’s!). The turbos break the noise up. The drive-by figure with wide-open throttle is 75dB, which should give us something in the order of 88dB on the sound meter for the Goodwood noise test.
How significant in the history of Radical is the RXC Turbo 500?
It’s probably the biggest so far because it’s European small-volume type approved. It’s the first closed Radical we can sell in Europe with the EcoBoost motor.
Is it road car or race car?
We talk about the car being road legal but no one is in any doubt that this is a race car that we managed to put on the road. Everything is getting more and more extreme these days.
Next up from Radical?
This car has been two years in the making so we need to consolidate. We have three really fresh products right now and we need to get some road cars out, take a breath and then we see what we need to do for next year.