Ford-powered Radical RXC brings full-on race car design to the streets
By C.C. Weiss
June 6, 2013
There are a lot of sports cars on the road that make claims of being street-legal race cars. Few of those claims are as legitimate as the Radical RXC's. A Le Mans prototype-inspired racer that looks like it was plucked from the circuit and slapped with a pair of license plates, the RXC is the car that a company named "Radical" calls its most advanced ever.
Even cars as heavily race-inspired and track-cozy as the LaFerrari and McLaren P1 have been tamed and tucked for on-road suitability. Designed to be the world's most extreme road-legal coupe, the RXC receives no such tucking. If you saw it driving next to you on the highway, you might think that a race car fell out of its trailer and was desperately trying to catch up. In Radical's words, the car brings "current Le Mans Prototype (LMP) styling and aerodynamics to the street." And what it lacks in prettiness it makes up for in a level of performance that Radical promises will cost well less than comparably-performing supercars.
Formed in 1997 by Phil Abbott and Mick Hyde, Radical is a British motor firm that got its start building lightweight race cars based around motorcycle engines. It claims to be the "the first company to create a bespoke powertrain system for a superbike-powered sports racer." During its 16-year run, it's built several club and track day race cars and has recently gotten into building dual-use, street-legal cars that have all the same track power and grace of its racers. The SR9 Le Mans Prototype, a record Nurburgring time of 6:48 and the Radical Masters Euroseries race series are other accomplishments to Radical's credit.
While Radical calls it a "supercar," the rear-wheel-drive RXC belongs more to a different niche of car, alongside other lightning-quick, ultralight, track-focused racers like the Ariel Atom and KTM X-bow GT. It looks like an evolution of the other race cars in Radical's line, but the manufacturer maintains that it was designed from a clean slate and shares only a few components with its other cars.
The primary engine is a 380-bhp version of Ford's 3.7-liter V6, optimized by Radical's powertrain doctors. The RXC can also be fitted with an in-house 480-bhp 3.0-liter RP-series V8 engine, a version of the engine used in the SR8 RX race car. Either way, shifting comes by way of a bespoke 7-speed transverse Quaife gearbox with paddle shifters. The car also employs a fly-by-wire throttle.
The powertrain is fitted in the rear of a car that weighs just 1,984 lb (900 kg). The carbon fiber and composite body panels are fitted atop a tubular steel spaceframe that Radical plans to put through FIA crash testing. The chassis includes front and rear monocoque crash boxes. The car uses a bespoke Intrax Racing Suspension inboard push rod suspension system with double wishbones all round. Fully floating disc brakes with 6-pot calipers inside the 17-inch wheels handle stopping duties.
Radical is still testing the RXC but has whet car lovers' appetites with an impressive spec list. The car's top speed of 175 mph (282 km/h) falls short of the "supercar" class (though it's plenty fast for the average drive down the highway), but in just 2.8 seconds it arrives at 62 mph (100 km/h) quicker than most cars not named Veyron. It's sure to perform equally impressively around curves and corners thanks to the fact that it's sucked to the ground with up to its weight in downforce.
Like the exterior, the interior is entirely focused on function, with fashion left as the folly of more vain vehicles. After stepping in through the gullwing doors, the driver and passenger (co-driver) are wrapped in bespoke Corbeau FIA-compliant bucket seats with 6-point harnesses. Internal equipment includes an adjustable steering wheel and pedal box, electrically adjustable and heated wing mirrors, and air conditioning. An AiM MXL2 LCD dashboard shows engine and performance information, and the optional data logging system expands the tracked data set to include metrics like brake pressure, G forces and suspension travel.
Radical introduced the RXC at the Autosport International Show this past January and is still testing and developing it. Watch a teaser of the RXC below and get a closer look inside and behind the scenes by checking out XCAR's YouTube video.
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