Radical vs. Formula mazda

Discussion in 'F1' started by Noel, May 19, 2005.

  1. Noel

    Noel F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    I know this is a very specific question, but does anyone have any info or frist hand experience with a Radical AND a formula Mazda (club racer)??

    I spent my day in the Mazda yesterday (ton of fun) and am also thinking about buying a Radical, but I have never driven the Radical and have no feel for reliability aka on going costs (of the Radical).

    basically, I don't want to track my 360 much, so I joined Rotary Rockets to race their Formula Mazdas and not beat on my 360. but I've heard a lot of good stuff about the radical as well and would love some input if there is any out there.

    Thanks, Noel
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  3. prg

    prg Rookie

    Feb 17, 2004
    I was in this quandry 18 months ago. I bought a FM for a few reasons. Most importantly, the FM has a very reliable spec motor. One guy I race with has five years since his last rebuild and still is competitive. The motor is very underestressed in the old FM platform. It has a spec 6850 rpm rev limiter which is very low for a rotary engine. The motor is bullet proof. The gearbox does require going through about every 15 hours of use as it is the "weak link" of the FM powertrain. The bike motor of the radical is not nearly as durable and reliable as the mazda's rotary. It does make a glorious high revving wail though (at least until it shoots a rod through the case. I've heard a grid of idling formula mazdas described as sounding like a flock of flatulent sheep.

    I'd really suggest looking around at the group you want to race with. In my situation, there were a good number of FM's to race with and no modern CSR's or DSR's. One other issue is that although the radical is a great track day car, it isn't really competetive with the Stohr's, Speed's and Maloy's which are much lighter.

    My highly biased FM racing $.02.
  4. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Oct 3, 2002
    @ the wheel
    Full Name:
    Noel, you got a PM.


    Aug 20, 2001
    East Coast
    Full Name:
    Jon K.
    I cannot comment on the reliability of the FM or the cost but I tested one for two days about a year ago back to back with a Formula Continental.

    I have at least 30+ plus hours in two different Radical SR3's as part of a development program for the Mid Atlantic distributor of Radicals and will be racing for him in June in CSR class.

    From the small amount of info I know and have read both here and on other forums the FM's are bullet proof and reliable. Parts are easily available and the cars are easy to work on.

    When I tested the FM against the FC they were quite different but close in lap times. The FC is much more of a momentum car but brakes and handles much better than the FM. The FM had more power and torque and got off the corners better. I also felt that the FM was much more forgiving than the Continental.

    The FM did not feel as balanced or stable as the FC but if your coming from a 360 it will seem like greased lightening.

    In terms of the Radical, it will not be as cheap to run or repair and parts availability is a concern as most stuff comes from the UK. A few years ago it could take at least 2 months for a front nose section.

    As far as reliability, our two cars, bot SR3's, have been rock solid but they will need motor rebuilds soon and can't match the durability of a FM.

    In terms of performance they run slightly faster lap times in 1500 cc form than a FM at most tracks near me (Watkin's Glen, Summit, VIR). At Summit Point the lap record for a 1500 CC SR3 is a low 1:13 and I believe the FM record is half a second slower. The 1300 CC Radicals run in the 14's and 15's. For referrence the Continentals run 11's and 12's at Summit.

    I think as a race car the SR3 is a bit too heavy. Our cars weigh about 1100 pounds w/ out driver. With drivers we are over SCCA weight by a substantial amount.

    The Radical Prosports (one seaters) with 1500 engines are the fastest and have run 1:12's at Summit.

    As a track car for DE's they are very good but if cost is a factor then an FM has them beat by a mile. You can pick up a decent FM, last time I checked, for about 20K with a decent engine.


    Jon P. Kofod
  6. Gilles27

    Gilles27 F1 World Champ

    Mar 16, 2002
    Full Name:
    I've always thought the Radicals were pretty cool, but you start getting into pricier racing real estate. Keep us posted on your decision. And then let us know if you need anyone to help drive:)
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  8. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 10, 2002
    Just another datapoint....At the last so cal FCA/pantera trackday at WSIR and race there were about 8 radicals of different types sr3's and 4's no csr or dsr's. They were there to try and impress us I'm sure. In my race group they were smokin fast. They passed all the hot streetcars including the 600+hp panteras and some wicked fast Porsches with biplane wings, but...we often got by them even my slow 348 because it seemed that an aweful lot of the time they are on the side of the track broken down or spinning off. To win a race you gotta finish it.

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