2022 Radical SR10 Review

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Radical’s GT3-fast track-day special gains a new engine map and enhanced safety.

There is no shortage of hugely expensive track-biased supercars playing on their manufacturers’ motorsport heritage, but they will always be tribute acts. The Radical SR10 is very much the real thing.

No, you can’t drive it on road – at least not legally – but for anyone seeking an off-the-shelf race car that’s faster than a factory GT3, or just a way of dominating a top-end track day, the Radical’s value-for-money proposition is close to unbeatable.

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Changes for 2022 have sharpened its case further, with the SR10 sitting above the SR1 and Radical SR3 in the clan. It has been given a new engine map, better cockpit ergonomics through a repositioned steering column and options of both uprated brakes and a nifty new Formula 1-inspired halo-style protection system that wraps tightly around the cockpit.

The combination of cold slick tyres and a power-to-weight ratio beyond that of most hypercars – 317kW driving just 725kg without occupants – makes the SR10 sound intimidating, especially as I’m driving it on the very three-dimensional Portimao track in a session shared with numerous other Radicals. Yet the reality is vastly different: there almost certainly isn’t a less scary way to enter the world of slicks and downforce.

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The engine is the least special bit of the experience. The heavily reworked 2.3-litre Ford Ecoboost gives massive acceleration and is light, potent and built from well-known components. (Radical reckons it can manage 40 hours of track use between recommended rebuilds – much longer than for a bespoke racing engine.) Yet although it’s hugely effective, it lacks much in the way of character, with what could be termed a Darth Vaderish soundtrack (even through the padding of a race helmet) and no joy to be found in taking it to the redline. On the plus side, there is so much mid-range torque that short-shifting well before the limiter has little effect on the rate of acceleration, something that helped to take Portimao’s longer corners without an upshift.

Not that the chassis ever requires kid gloves, having no difficulty in taming and delivering the massive urge. Once the slicks are warmed, traction is so good that it takes mental readjustment to realise how soon you can get hard on the throttle in turns, opening it wide when even the most potent supercars would be tiptoeing at the edge of adhesion.

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Front-end grip is equally huge and the steering is direct, proportional and unambigous. But as speeds rise and downforce builds – the SR10 is able to easily produce more than 2g of lateral acceleration – the force required to turn the wheel grows. Even though the repositioned column gives more room for arm movement, I found myself wishing well before the end of my first stint on track that the factory demonstrator had been built with the optional power steering. Regular exposure would cut down on gym membership bills.

Braking is the other area where the SR10 requires acclimatisation for those used to even the most potent road cars. The Radical’s steel brakes lack the abrupt top-end bite of carbon-ceramics, although the retardation behind this is strong. But the lack of ABS makes it easy to lock wheels by pushing too hard. The margin between peak braking and sliding is sudden and initially hard to recognise.

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The factory demonstrator I drove also lacked the new halo-style set-up, although I did get to experience this from the tight-fitting passenger seat of another SR10. The frame surrounds the cockpit like a tight-fitting roll cage and makes getting in and out much more of a gymnastic adventure than in the open car. Initially, it made the SR10 feel surprisingly claustrophobic, given the lack of any roof, but within a couple of laps, my brain had learned to filter it out. Frontal visibility is only slightly affected.

Pricing hasn’t been confirmed for the revised car yet, but we’re told that it shouldn’t be too far beyond the £123,500 (AUD$232,600) base price of the previous version (more details at radicalaustralia.com.au)

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That’s a serious amount of money for any car, especially one that can’t be used on the road, yet in terms of on-track performance, it really does qualify the SR10 as a bargain – with the ability to enter it into multiple race championships or drive it at suitably permissive track days.

You would struggle to find a more thrilling experience, regardless of budget.

Mike Duff

Final Verdict:
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