That’s Radical! – Part 1

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Welcome readers.


For the next few instalments I will be talking about a unique vehicle. This bold claim of unique status is often debunked but in the case, it is beyond question. Radical is a small British Sports Car Manufacturer in Peterborough and they produce some of the wildest machines money can buy. For over 2 decades now Radical have always been a brand talked about when lap times, crazy 0-60 times and general top trumps petrol head chats occur. Radical’s cars are light weight, fast and not for the feint hearted!


The SR3 was first launched in 2001 and is still the most widely produced and successful model Radical have launched. As with most hyper car brands they attract the rich and famous. In this case it wasn’t the prestige of Radical that attracted, it was the sheer speed of the thing! Where do people who go further, faster and harder than anyone else dare get their kicks? Well…. In 2006 Colin Mcrae ordered his Radical. Now for a second there I was about to start on who Colin Mcrae was but if that’s what you are wondering, please click the “x” on the top right of your screen. Thank you.


Typically, Colin didn’t choose a run of the mill Radical. If there even is such a thing! He chose the SR3 LM and added to optional downforce kit. In addition to this Colin chose for his car to be road legal! I will get onto what this car is like to drive later on but the fact that this thing can be used to head to Tesco in insane! The SR3 is powered by a 1500cc Suzuki Hayabusa engine pushing out 260BHP. Not sound a lot? The Radical weighs 495 Kg! For those who can’t picture a Radical it’s a steel spaceframe, 2-seater track car with a body purely sculpted for downforce and aerodynamics. No toys, zero comfort but therefore no weight! You sit on a plastic seat, strap yourself in with the 4-point harness and put on your helmet. Yes, no roof, no windscreen, none of that rubbish! As the name eludes to there is nothing shy about these cars. They are purpose built madness and for those who are excited by this there is no better place to spend your hard-earned pounds.


The SR3 leaps to 60MPH in just 3 seconds and will keep on licking windows until you hit 160MPH. I will add at this point I cannot comprehend doing 160MPH in one of these cars. Raw just doesn’t explain it. An SR3 very similar to this one completed a lap of the Nurburgring in 7 minutes 19 seconds. Let’s just let that little fact sink in for a second. If that doesn’t mean a lot to you, open up another tab on the search engine of your choice and look up the record laps of the circuit. Gon do it now, I will wait. Look for the big names, the Enzo’s and the Zonda’s of this world and see what they achieve. Starting to get the idea? Still to this day the car holds 17th place for fastest lap ever with two later models holding 4th and 2nd!  Colin’s SR3, as previously mentioned has the optional downforce package on it which gives the car a huge rear wing, rear diffuser and other wind tunnel additions to make the car more stable at high speeds. It does leave me wondering who would buy one without this and what their life expectancy is!


So, all of that aside for a minute. Let’s just take a second to touch on the unexplainable sensation of climbing into this car. His car…. Before you literally climb in as there are no doors obviously, you stand and stare at it. Attempting to take in all the minor details, every single one of them represent engineering pornography. Every single curve and edge serving a purpose. It is stunning. Very much akin to the Atom it is beautiful in its own weird way. Beautiful in its simplicity. I would also admit that the car is hugely intimidating. Partly because your head swims with all the stories and statistics but also because this car is a one of a kind. This was Colin McCrae’s actual car. His name is still on the log book! Given his tragic passing there is something undeniable macabre about the way this feels. The way Colin drove his rally car was as if he were invincible and he was the only one who knew. Still to this day I can barely imagine what it must have been like combining him and this machine on a dry day.


To truly attempt to understand what goes on beneath its this skin you can open the car in a clam shell fashion to see all the workings underneath. This really is big kid time as I deny anybody to not make a small whimper when the car unveils itself. It’s impossible to stand there without either giggling or gasping. Inside the cockpit is simply carbon fibre and plastic. The dash cluster straight from a race car with digital displays and a gear indicator, nothing more. The sequential transmission is surprisingly easy to use with nudges forward and back to move up and down the 6 cogs and apart from mirrors, indicators and a start button that’s your lot.


So, having clambered in and got comfy it’s time to start her up. My feet are literally bouncing on the pedals like I was playing the drums in a metal band, my mouth is dry and my hands are the opposite. In truth, it’s both petrifying and exhilarating and I’ve not even turned a wheel yet.


That’s for next time……… do join me.



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