I’m all for safe driving, but our maximum legal speed limit in Australia is considered dangerously slow in many sections of Germany’s high-speed autobahn system.
By Anthony Crawford
And no, I’m not trying to be funny either we have absolute proof of how dangerous these so-called safe speeds of ours can be over there.
It’s 2007, and the CarAdvice team is on its way to Australia’s first proper test drive and video of the world’s fastest car, the Bugatti Veyron.
Our rental car was a diesel powered Ford Mondeo TDCi, and we were cruising along nicely in the middle lane at a comfortable 200km/h, when we notice the car is pulling slightly to the right.
You see, we had tried the left lane, but were too slow for those cars travelling at 240km/h plus, and there were plenty of those.
The culprit was the left rear tyre, which evidently had a puncture, but the only spare was an 80km/h rated emergency wheel and tyre package, which we promptly fitted and headed towards Molsheim in France.
There was no safe way we were going to sit on the prescribed 80km/h limit on a German autobahn, even in the so-called slow right lane. Drivers behind us were already highly agitated and had started to flash lights at us, in the slow lane!
Even at 110km/h we were being harassed, as the slow lane in Germany means a minimum of 130km/h, just to be safe.
So what’s this rant of mine have to do with such an extreme brand of car as the Radical has proven to be? Everything and more if you’re addicted to speed and reside anywhere in this vast continent of ours.
If you’re not a professional race driver, but want to drive a car at speeds that will give you a quicker lap time than a V8 Supercar, buy a Radical SR3 RS and get to a racetrack as fast as you possibly can, without exceeding the legal speed limit of course.
Your looking at the world’s fastest production sports car, which recently smashed its own lap record with a mind-blowing lap time of 6min:48sec at the infamous Nurburgring Nordshleife circuit in where else, but Germany.
Gumpert had already claimed the prize with its Gumpert Apollo Sport but had dismissed the English built Radical due its heavy skew towards the track.
But just to prove the point, the SR8 Supersport was driven all the way from the Peterborough factory in England to Germany and onto the track, all quite legal of course.
And its not quite as small an operation as you may think either. Radical produces around 150 cars per year, generating annual revenues just north of $20 million.
So successful is this bespoke track car manufacturer, that there are now distributors in 16 countries including Australia, as Radical fever takes hold amongst the world’s motoring enthusiasts.
CarAdvice is planning to shoot a full blown track test of the super quick Radical SR3 RS and possibly the jet-like SR8 Supersport later this year, and was invited to Eastern Creek Raceway to sample the cars.
Powered by an upgraded version of Suzuki’s 1349cc engine from the ridiculously fast Hayabusa motorcycle, the SR3 RS will rev to 10,500rpm and hit 260km/h down the main straight at Eastern creek, no problem.
But here’s the thing, normally at these speeds coming into turn one off the straight you might tap the brakes or at least back off the throttle.
No need to do either in the 490kg Radical with a few laps under your belt, just hold the throttle down and blast through to turn two, pulling over 2.5gs.
This is a car that will make you feel like you could take on Lewis Hamilton and Jensen Button in the same race, and it’s not a difficult car to drive after some tuition and a generous number of practice laps.
In true racecar form, your SR3 RS comes standard with a six-speed sequential gearbox, which is easy enough, but my pick would be the optional Pneumatic, paddle-shift system with auto-blipper.
Inside the car is mostly carbon-composite, while the seats are moulded composite with manually adjustable mounts.
Best if you climb into the Radical with the quick-release steering wheel removed, and slide your feet forward into the foot well before sitting.
The instrument panel consists of an LCD display unit with a large digital gear indicator, and that’s all you need in this car.
And when you get bored of clocking up lap times that would shame a Porsche GT3, you might want to graduate up to the wickedly quick Radical SR8 Supersport.
Think two Hayabusa engines which have been fused as one V8, and you get the picture.
With more than 283kW from the 2.6-litre engine this thing will make your eyes water, as it is considerably quicker down the straight than the SR3 RS although, cornering speeds are similar.
But if you wanted to go all out and get the best track day car money can buy and thus eliminating all known competition, the 2.8 litre SR8LM is the car for that job.
Power jumps to a colossal 343kW with overall weight remaining at a super light 650 kilograms.
Remember, this is the car, which Michael Vergers drove during Radical’s annihilation of the Nurburgring lap time on road-legal tyres.
The most popular Radical, the SR3 RS, can be yours for just on $100,000 including GST, with various options to choose from on top of that price.
If you want a close up inspection of the Radical, go to the Classic Throttle Shop in North Sydney, and speak with Sascha Henrichs.
Alternatively, there are plenty of Radical track days, where you can hire a car for a day, with excellent in-car tuition, complete with helmet-to-helmet communication, which are more than affordable.