For those who are yet to take up wheel-to-wheel racing, the open cockpit racer offers extreme track performance
Radical has just released a track car. The Peterborough-based company claims to be “one the most prolific sports car makers in the world”. With over 2200 cars manufactured in the last 20 years, this car is intended for circuit use, in particular in any of a dizzying array of one-make or other race series they are eligible.
The SR10 is designed to replicate the performance of the SR8, which lapped Nurburgring in just 6min 55sec 15 years ago. This was well before any other car in the SR series. However, it doesn’t have the high-strung and complex piece of kit and the associated maintenance costs. Instead of a bespoke 2.7-litre V8 engine producing 411bhp at a blistering 10,500rpm speed, the SR10 has a turbocharged 2.3 litre Ford Ecoboost engine that produces 425bhp at 6900rpm. The real difference is the 380 lb ft torque it produces, compared to the SR8’s 231 lb ft.
It is more than just a Ford Focus ST engine with the boost up. It features a Garrett turbocharger, custom-made forged rods, pistons, and a Race Exhaust. It also comes with a 6-speed Hewland gearbox, originally designed for Formula 2. It is 725kg in weight and has a powerful aero package, fully adjustable pushrod double wishbone suspension and a highly-reliable Hewland gearbox. It should, as some might argue, be given its six-figure purchase cost, even before VAT.
Radical has aimed the SR10 at a different audience than its SR3 staple racing car (which makes up half of all Radical’s cars) and the SR8. The SR10 is “an ideal choice” for people who want extreme track performance but aren’t ready to commit to full wheel-towheel competitive racing. According to the firm, the primary targets of the car are the car’s track day and car club market.
The cockpit is reached by climbing over a side intrusion bar. Your hands are extended and you are cinched in the car. The new wheel-mounted scrollable LCD LCD display is displayed on the steering wheel. Rotating dials enable you to select different throttle and gearbox maps, as well as the level of steering assistance, if this option has been checked. The wheel is too low for me. However, there’s no way to adjust it manually. The cockpit feels spacious, but it is also very comfortable, which is a clever trick.
The engine roars to life. It is obvious that this engine is a tool to do the job. It vibrates a lot, can stall when you pull away, and it makes a loud roar when it is stretched. It does the job, thank goodness.
Although 425bhp might not sound like much in these times, considering how small the car is and that it has more power than a McLaren Senna you can see what you are dealing with. This car is so much more enjoyable than an SR3 and SR8 because of its torque.
It makes your life so much easier. You’re probably driving the wrong car if you are more than a little busy in something like the SR10. It doesn’t matter if you go up a gear or lose speed. All you have to do to get it back is to twitch your toes. This allows you to focus more on steering the missile around any track.
I chose the Bedford Autodrome West Circuit in my case, as it was the perfect circuit to showcase the car’s talents.
It is also very fast. It can go around this place in a matter of seconds, making a hypercar seem utterly pedestrian. It has all the advantages of a road car, including slicks and a highly developed aero pack. It will produce about 2.3g lateral. This is twice the normal lateral speed for a road-going sports car. It’s nearly impossible to breathe when you are being rammed around in the cockpit.
It was a little tricky in the conditions. The roads were too wet for slicks, but not too dry to use the wets. But it handled fine on both tyres. The chassis balance was perfect, even when you were able to skid in slow conditions.
Because the car is so lightweight, fundamentally well-set up and stable, you can almost always correct the steering and not worry about losing time or getting off the throttle. If you aren’t careful about lowering the brake pressure before entering a corner, you can lock the front tyre. However, you can still do it if you don’t know how. It’s an impressive package all in all.
The car could benefit from at least an optional system that allows traction control and the driver to select the extent and point of the intervention. Although the car doesn’t really need it, drivers who are primarily interested in the track and not racers might be able to appreciate it and have fun with it. I know that I would.
Honestly, I don’t have any problems with the car. I drove the newest SR3XX, which has a fraction of the power (226bhp), but it is more than 100kg lighter at 620kg and costs only two-thirds as much.
While I enjoyed, admired, and liked the SR10 in all aspects, except its crude engine, I loved the SR3. It is equally quick around corners, sounds absolutely brilliant, revs past 10 Grand, is more chuckable and easier to control on the limit, and is in every way that is important to me utterly addicting. You can also get one for as little as PS20,000. It has been around for almost 20 years. It sent me running for the classifieds right away, and I know it.
The SR10 is still my favorite. Although I don’t like the engine, I do appreciate its contribution to Radical’s lineup in terms of power and long-term reliability. Radical is well deserved for it’s place in Radical’s model lineup. It is a wonderful engine and I wish it all the best.