This is a new track car from Radical, the Peterborough-based company claiming to be "one of the world’s most prolific sports car manufacturers" with over 2200 cars produced in the past 20 years, the overwhelming majority for circuit use only, primarily in any one of a dizzying number of one-make and other race series for which they are eligible around the world.
The SR10’s purpose in life is to provide the performance of the long-time flagship of the SR range, the SR8 (which 15 years ago in kind of road-legal form lapped the Nürburgring in 6min 55sec - over a decade before a car from another manufacturer went faster) but without the maintenance costs and headache of what is a very highly strung and specialist piece of kit. So instead of a bespoke normally aspirated 2.7-litre V8 motor producing 411bhp at a screaming 10,500rpm, the SR10 comes with a turbocharged 2.3-litre Ford Ecoboost motor shovelling out 425bhp at around 6900rpm. But the real difference is its 380lb ft of torque, compared with around 231lb ft for the SR8.
The engine is rather more than a Ford Focus ST unit with the boost turned up. It has a custom Garrett turbocharger, forged rods and pistons, a tailor-made dry sump system, a race exhaust and its own Life Racing ECU. It comes with a six-speed Hewland gearbox originally developed for Formula 2 cars. Housed in a car weighing 725kg and running slick tyres, a formidable aero package and fully adjustable pushrod double-wishbone suspension, it is a very trick package indeed. Which, some might say, it should be, given the six-figure purchase price, even before VAT.
Interestingly, although the SR10 is a full-blown race car, Radical is aiming it at a slightly different audience from its SR3 staple racer (which accounts for half of everything Radical makes) and the SR8. It is instead "an ideal choice for those who want a car with extreme track performance, but who aren’t yet committed to full wheel-to-wheel competitive racing." The firm cites the track day and car club markets as prime targets for the car.
You climb over a high side intrusion bar and drop down, down, down into the cockpit. Hands appear and belt you tightly into the car. You look at a new wheel-mounted scrollable LCD display, while rotary dials allow you to choose different throttle and gearbox maps and also the level of steering power assistance if that option box has been ticked, which, in my case, it had not. I’d like the wheel to be higher, but there’s no manual adjustment. Otherwise, the cockpit is spacious yet feels snug, which is a neat trick.