Radical HistorySource: RadicalWith an all new LMP2 ready to take on the giants of sportscar racing at the Le Mans and in the LMES series, 2006 is set to be Radical's biggest year ever. The SR9 joins a highly successful line of sports racers that have been winning races all over the world for the last ten years and dominating the national scene here in the UK. Radical Sportscars have certainly come a very long way since 1996, when Mick Hyde and Phil Abbott formed the then fledgling company.
The original idea of putting a superbike engine in a sportscar was Phil's. It was also Phil who had the technical savvy to get the first prototype from an idea to the finished item. Mick, whilst also a qualified engineer, brought twenty years of marketing expertise to the table along with some firm ideas on what a car should look like and where it should race.
By mid-spring of '96 Mick and Phil had one prototype up and running. Following a few short runs at Bruntingthorpe, the Leicestershire proving ground, Mick was on the starting grid at Brands hatch in a 750 Motor Club Sports 2000 race. Driving from sixth, to third, to the gravel trap and back to eleventh Mick's first Radical race was, shall we say, eventful. By summer two Clubsports (as the car was to be known) were built and Phil won the car's first race at Pembrey.
January 1997 saw the official formation of Radical Motorsport Ltd. The first race of the season saw ten Radicals on the grid in a Radical class within the 750 Motor Club Sports 2000 series. Mick finished first from pole and Phil came a close second after a long battle with several front runners.
The success of the Radical class provided a stepping stone to Radicals first one-make Championship in 1999. Run under the auspices of the BRSCC, twenty seven cars started the first race at Donington and the championship has never looked back since.
During the year Radical developed its second car, the Prosport, with a Suzuki engine, Formula 3 tyres and a new aerodynamic package. The car was hugely successful, winning a number of events and claiming several lap records.
By 2000 Radical was running two championships. Sprint races for the Clubsport and endurance races for the new Prosport. They produced some of the most exciting one-make racing in the UK and orders were now flooding in from around the world. Radical, never stand still, and backed up this success with the introduction of the even faster SR3 and then the SR4, both of which now could carry a passenger, making them ideal for trackdays. The motoring press could help but heap praise on these new machines and both cars scooped many prestigious awards including Evo magazine's Trackday car of the Year crown. During 2003, the SR3 was sold to eighteen countries around the world and new race series were run in countries all over the world, including Australia, South America, South Africa, Malaysia, Bahrain as well as Europe.
Radical build, test and develop almost every component of every new car at their Peterborough factory and the whole process from design through to execution is carried out by a dedicated team that has now grown to over 80 members of staff. The acquisition of Amicon Engineering and Powertec Engineering brought everything under one roof, from component machining through to engine building, while an on-site rolling road allows engines and transmissions to be perfected before taking to the track, while aerodynamic work is completed at the MIRA wind tunnel.
It was this set up that allowed Radical to create the fastest one-make sportscar race series the world has ever seen with the introduction of the staggering SR8. The whole car, including the 363bhp 2.6-litre V8 engine, was designed and built in-house and it 2005 went on to set outright lap records at Cadwell Park and the re-profiled Brands Hatch GP track, before smashing the production car lap record at the Nordschleife Nürburgring, with the first ever sub-seven minute lap. The list of achievements just keeps on growing…