Why Radical offers more than just free racing

Published on Thursday October 12 2017

Radical’s SR1 Cup Shootout was a huge success. Pic: Ollie Read

“This is bizarre, I mean properly bizarre! I’ve only had my licence a few months… now I’m competing against a guy who’s done Formula 2 and others that do British GT! I can’t really believe I’m here, but what an experience… Awesome!”

That was perhaps one of the more uplifting conversations I had as a guest judge on the inaugural Radical SR1 Cup Shootout earlier this week. And, in truth, I think it was one of the highlights of my entire season doing so.

I’ve been around a few motorsport contests, where one lucky winner can land a bursary towards a year of racing, or in some rarer cases, a fully funded season. Radical’s gone for the latter option – the winner of this contest gets a funded year of racing in the six-round, 12-race SR1 Cup, with their car being run by the works team. That’s worth upwards of £45,000.

That’s one heck of a prize. And the gravity of it was reflected in the entry.

Across my 10 years in motorsport journalism, I’ve collected a pretty comprehensive book of contacts. Before the contest started I knew of roughly half of the names on the entry – a handful of them personally. But what I really enjoyed about the process was the 50% I’d never encountered before.

Fleet of SR1s were lined up for candidates to try

Let’s remember one thing first, the SR1 Cup is designed as a club series, open – from next year – to more experienced drivers and novices alike. It’s not a professional-only career-focused series. You can certainly use it as a springboard, but the SR1 has always been intended as an ideal sports prototype entry point, using a car capable of pleasing drivers with any range of ability or experience.

Having taken part in the SR1 Cup myself at Snetterton earlier this year, I can tell you it’s a friendly and warm place to race, with a great bunch of guys behind it and one of the most thrilling cars I’ve ever had the privilege to drive.

It’s not the fastest thing on four wheels. If you want that, dig a bit deeper and get yourself an SR3, SR8 or RXC. Those will blow your socks off… But the SR1 has enough poke to satisfy most. But what the SR1 does better than any model Radical makes is open the door to proper, full-fat, sportscar racing for a much wider audience.

Of the 50 finalists, we had a real mix of experience, background, age and skill. Only one had ever raced a Radical before. And it led to a fascinating contest.

Skid pan session helped to assess control and precision

We had drivers with healthy budget, and those without who took a £500 chunk out of their savings to take a punt on winning what, for them, would be a dream drive. There were guys with international Formula 3 and FIA Formula 2 experience, GT racing campaigns and even LMP3 on their resumes. All of them vying for the same prize, albeit all for different reasons.

Some wanted it to use as a springboard to bigger things, some wanted to revive careers, some wanted it as a change of career direction. For some it perhaps represented the only way they’d be racing in 2018, and for others, just taking part in the process was an experience to be enjoyed.

That’s what was so exciting about this competition. The sheer unpredictability of it.

Radical wants an ambassador for the SR1, and its products in general. It’s not all about outright lap time and the biggest name in the field. As such candidates went through fitness, media, simulator and skid pan tests as well as getting 30 minutes to prove themselves at the wheel of one of the fleet of SR1s present, with data and coaching advice from professional engineers.

Candidates were tested in simulators, as well as one track

For an entry fee of £500 for a full day of activities, nobody could say they went home feeling short-changed.

The standard on offer was excellent. The novices acquitted themselves brilliantly, and there was a real hunger from everyone involved to be a part of this new-generation of Radical racing.

The change in Radical’s management has brought a breath of fresh air to the company. Every area of the business – from its cars and its grids, to its branding, service and new global strategy – now looks absolutely top notch.

The Shootout was a great example of its fresh thinking. The brainchild of Radical’s motorsport and engineering director Alex Mortimer and his team, it’s a fantastic initiative that I hope will become an annual fixture. As a former British GT champion, Mortimer knows what drivers want, and more importantly expect, from their suppliers. And this new-look Radical operation seems hell-bent on delivering the full package.

Radical has identified a niche for the SR1, and come up with a product that has enough appeal to draw an impressively wide spectrum of drivers to come and have a go. Nobody got out of the car without a smile on their face. And, based on that evidence, I reckon Radical could be on to a winner in more than one sense.

Keep checking back for news of the winner of the Radical SR1 Cup Shootout. All will be revealed soon.

Our man raced in the SR1 Cup this year. Pic: Ollie Read

Recent news


Motorsport isn't about gender

By Jack Benyon

Racing News

British champion Ahmed closes on Euro F3 deal

BRDC British Formula 3 champion Enaam Ahmed appears to be closing in on a deal to move up to...

Racing News

Barwell expands to three Lamborghinis for British GT

Barwell Motorsport will expand to field three Lamborghini Huracan GT3s in next year’s British...

Racing News

New race series for classic Porsche 911s

A new race series for pre-1966 Porsche 911s has been launched by Peter Auto, the French-based...

Racing News

Simpson moves from Dynamics to Eurotech

British Touring Car Championship racer Matt Simpson will move from Team Dynamics to the expanding...

Racing News

Morris won't return to defend British GT3 title

New British GT3 champion Seb Morris will not return to defend the title he won this year alongside...

Rallying News

Bakkerud to make Andros Trophy debut

World Rallycross ace Andreas Bakkerud will make his debut in the Andros Trophy ice racing series...


Stop kicking the WRC Down Under

By Colin Clark

Rallying News

New rules to cut costs in World Rallycross

A raft of measures aimed at reducing costs in the World Rallycross Championship have been introduced...

Racing News

Bushell to return to BTCC with Team Hard

Two-time Renault UK Clio Cup champion Mike Bushell will return to the British Touring Car Championship...

Rallying News

VW R5 car completes first public test

Volkswagen's Polo GTi R5 World Rally Championship WRC2 car has been seen testing in public for...

Racing News

Double R signs American for 2018 British F3

Leading BRDC British Formula 3 team Double R Racing has made American driver Dev Gore its first...

Racing News

Combe changes set to tackle track limits

The Castle Combe Circuit will make changes for 2018 in a bid to stop track limits being exploited...

Rallying News

WRC split on Mahonen's plan for shorter stages

FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen’s plans for shorter stages in the World Rally Championship...

Racing News

Clio champion Bushell eyes TCR UK move

Two-time Renault UK Clio Cup champion Mike Bushell says TCR UK is a “serious option” for...

Rallying News

WRC eSports final on Motorsport.tv and Autosport

The 2017 eSports WRC Powered by Hyundai Grand Final will be live streamed by Motorsport.tv today,...

Rallying News

WRC title fight will go to the wire in 2018

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson believes that his team will face an even bigger challenge to defend...

Rallying News

Rovanpera and Solberg team up in Fiestas

World Rally Championship stars of the future Kalle Rovanpera and Oliver Solberg will team-up...

Racing News

DTM returns to Brands Hatch for 2018

The DTM will return to Brands Hatch next season, with the Kent venue securing an August date...

Racing News

HHC signs Ginetta champion for GT4 expansion

HHC Motorsport will expand to field two cars in next year's British GT Championship, and has...

Rallying News

M-Sport gets Ford support from America

Malcolm Wilson has revealed that his M-Sport team will benefit from technical backing from Ford...

Racing News

Button's year out "best thing I've done"

Jenson Button says his "love for motor racing is back" after spending a year away from Formula...

1 2 3 36

More national news, in-depth race reports and analysis. Subscribe to the Motorsport News paper today.

What’s On

This weekend

No Events


No Events