Advertisement
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Advertisement feature
WELCOME TO HYUNDAI’S HAPPINESS MACHINE
View the latest news
Motorsport

The Radford Pikes Peak Edition is a lightweight 700bhp hillclimb beast

861kg. 700 horsepower. 160mph and 0-60mph in 2.2s. Bring on the mountain

Published: 05 May 2023

Though it shares a name and broadly the same silhouette, the Radford Pikes Peak Edition Type 62-2 takes nothing else from that supernaturally good road car. Ball park? They’re not even playing the same sport.

Welcome, enthused onlookers, to one of the wildest Pikes Peak cars you’ll ever see. Ant Anstead and Jenson Button’s new venture – reviving the classic Radford marque – has spawned something unholy: a bewinged prototype racer designed to drive really really fast up a really really big hill.

Advertisement - Page continues below

“I know this car is going to be a beast,” Tanner Foust tells TopGear.com. He’s been tasked with attempting to keep this featherweight on the ground – and not take flight – when it hits the famous Colorado hillclimb in June. “It has basically nothing shared with the road car. It shares the design ethos and some components, but everything else is either modified or a bespoke version of what is on the road car,” he adds.

Shall we quietly tiptoe through the ‘everything else’, lest we anger what lurks beneath? Where the Type 62-2 features an aluminium chassis, this PP Edition gets a full composite monocoque that sits 230mm wider. The front and rear subframes are new too, with new suspension geometry to match.

Hell, there’s an entirely new underbody, and it won’t have escaped your attention how this 62-2 PP Edition has packed on front and rear carbon fibre aerodynamic addenda akin to a Transformer gearing up for a really really big fight. Somebody call Michael Bay. Everything’s been honed to ensure peak cooling, power and aero efficiency, and it’s topped off – quite literally – with a roof scoop and a ‘large gooseneck rear airfoil’; the latter a diplomatic way of saying ‘ruddy massive wing’.

What lurks beneath? The 3.5-litre supercharged V6 remains, but only the ‘lower block is shared’. It’s been Very Supercharged here, to the tune of 700bhp – up from the road car’s 605bhp – sent through a paddle-shift sequential gearbox to the rear wheels. Radford reckons on a 0-60mph time of 2.2s and top speed of 160mph. This is what you’d call Not Shabby.

Advertisement - Page continues below

The engine runs on a special Mobil1 oil mix developed specifically to deal with Pikes Peak’s uncompromising altitude, something Tanner is especially wary of. “The altitude has an extreme effect, not just on the driver, but on the car,” he tells TG. “Not only are you down on power [as you climb], but you’re also down on air particles needed for cooling. So the radiators are 50 per cent less effective. Ditto the downforce.”

And thus, the cooling system in the PP Edition is a much more ‘complex’ setup versus the road car, to deal precisely with this punishing altitude. Brakes come courtesy of AP Racing, who provided fresh carbon discs, pads and a new pedal box for the one-off.

Speaking of which, there’s only one seat of course, but it’s centrally mounted, is FIA-approved and weighs just 3.7kgs. Indeed, the PP Edition weighs an astonishing 861kg – around 200kgs lighter than the road car. There are lightweighting details all around, like the 70-odd new parts 3D printed, and even a lightweight battery. Though, it wears a heavy history. “Its exterior will feature the iconic JPS livery, making this a historic moment, as the last time a JPS race car turned a wheel in anger was in the 1986 F1 season with Ayrton Senna,” Radford said.

It's been a global effort to build this thing: teams from Austria, France, USA and the UK all coming together to give Tanner something he’s comfortable in. “We’re going to be in an exhibition class which will have a lot of quick cars in it,” he said. “Rhys Millen will be driving in this class and he’s won overall. There are some big manufacturer-supported cars too, and it’s a kind of catch-all class that gets a lot of fast cars.

Top Gear
Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

“We’ll have our work cut out for us,” he added.

Not that he or the team are shying away from a challenge. “I love the concept that an interesting, compelling brand and build and performance philosophy can still be brought to market for other people to live in and experience,” he said of Radford’s USP.

“Even in the days of behemoth car manufacturers owning 20 brands of cars, I love that the little guy can still put something out that competes.” We’ll have to wait until June to see if this little guy with its little weight and heavy hitting horsepower can take it to Pikes Peak’s big guns.

More from Top Gear

Loading
See more on Radford

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

subscribe