1,600 cars. You don’t sell that many sports racing cars in little more than a decade unless the package is thrilling, dramatic, huge fun to drive and excellent value for money.
Equally you don’t call your cars Radical, unless you offer something innovative and unique, and that was exactly the philosophy of company founders Mick Hyde and Phil Abbott. They weren’t about to build ‘just another sportscar’, their approach was revolutionary and together they created a whole new niche in the world of motorsport.
Their original idea was to design a lightweight sportscar that utilised superbike technology and in doing so they conceived a car that was faster than a supercar, totally driver focused and intensely rewarding to drive. Radical was the first company to create a bespoke powertrain system for a superbike-powered sports racer. The cars were built not just for the discerning club racer but trackday enthusiasts too, and both types of driver enjoy unmatched levels of support as well as having the fastest cars on track.
Safety was always a high priority and remains so today, with Radical leading the way. It is the only manufacturer of club racing cars that can draw on knowledge from building carbon chassis LMP cars that have raced successfully at the 24 hours of Le Mans, around Europe and in the USA.
But the Radical philosophy extends much wider than just the cars. When the founders looked at the various race series available in the UK, none provided the type of racing they knew their customers would crave. So they started their own, and became the first manufacturer to bring long-format, doubleheader endurance racing to the club racer, and provided a comprehensive spares and technical support team at every event.
The iconic Clubsport model established the company in 1997, and it is still raced with enthusiasm all around the world. Its success was instantaneous and the full grids soon led to developments, the Prosport added wings, more power and wider slicks, but the team at Radical were never going to rest on their ever-growing laurels. In 2002 they launched the SR3, a genuine two-seater, road-legal track car, that wowed both the press and track drivers all over the world. It has become Radical’s most popular model to date and was soon followed by the compact SR4, a small, light and practical two-seater that proved to be the perfect successor to the original Clubsport.
Then, in 2005, Radical launched the big one.The awesome SR8, powered by the high-revving, 380bhp Powertec RPV8 engine, bringing Le Mans Prototype pace to the national racing scene. The mighty RPE RPV8 was designed, developed and manufactured in-house, and the car now holds several circuit out-right lap records, including the highly sought prize of the production car record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The latest-generation 2.7-litre SR8 RXsets lap times comparable to LMP machinery on a fraction of the budget, and continues to draw acclaim for established endurance racers the world over.
In 2011 Radical took the bold step of developing its first fully EC Type Approved, street-legal roadster the SR3 SL. Powered by a turbocharged Ford EcoBoost four-cylinder engine it opened up Radical ownership to a whole new market, rapidly establishing itself in countries such as Switzerland, Germany and Japan. Technology and processes developed in the design of the SR3 SL have since enabled Radical to create a 'milestone' car; the new RXC. Radical's first-ever coupe is its largest and most advanced model yet and the company has high hopes for this sector-redefining GT car, delivering outstanding laptimes and usability in a package most cost-effective than any other rival.
Radical set out to create a new niche in the sportscar scene offering drivers incredible performance for a realistic price, and their success is born out in the sales figures. Over 1,600 Radical owners can’t be wrong.