Nurburgring Lap Record – Zonda R Vs Radical SR8 LM

As I’m sure, many of you saw on Top Gear recently, the Pagani Zonda R made quite a splash on our screens. Just for one minute, lets forget about the pointless side to the car Clarkson harps on about because lets face it, its quick. Its seriously quick. It set a lap time of 6:47 secs on the Nurburgring Nordschliefe which is El Rapide!!

Pagani Zonda R

I received countless text from my friends the night of the broadcast, informing me that the Radical’s Nordschliefe record had been beaten. As I own a Radical, no doubt they all took great pleasure in jibbing me about it……

For anyone who is not aware, the Radical SR8 LM set the fastest lap time in August 2009 with a time of 6:48secs, beating its previous record set in 2005 and claiming the desireable title of the fastest production sports car in the world!!!


Despite the Zonda R on first viewing, appearing to be faster, it just isn’t!!!!    Here’s why……

Radical, to prove a point, drove the SR8 LM on the road, to the Nurburgring from their UK, Peterborough based factory. Its was fully road legal. More to the point, it did the lap in its road legal format with road tyres – not slicks. The Zonda R is not road legal, was never designed to be, and most importantly did the lap on slick tyres. So whilst on the face of it, it looked faster, shaving off just 1 second whilst having the advantage of slick tyres, does not cut the cheese.

I have seen countless posts where people argue; what is a production sports car? People claim “its just a track car with a number plate”.

So, let me set the record straight for some of you….

This is not my opinion, its fact!


Radical have produced over 1000 cars and have been producing them since 1998. For those not mathematically minded, that means they have been knocking the little blighters out for over 13 years now.

When making the decision as to whether to buy one or not, I took a journey up to the Radical factory to see what I might be letting myself in for. It is an amazing place. This is not some barn in Somerset with 5 guys playing mechano and calling it an Ariel Atom, this is proper car production.

Half of the factory is dedicated to manufacturing components and parts. Precision milling equipment and blokes with dirty faces from a proper days graft! There are assembly areas, racing works team areas. A body shop, a sound proof dyno/engine testing facility and an entire engine manufacturing facility to boot. Arguing a Radical is not a production sports car is symantics and well, just pointless!! You can walk into Radical and order the exact specification car that set the lap record and you will get exactly the same car.