992 pounds. 280 horsepower. Absolute madness.
The Elemental RP1 is a stripped-down, open-top track car that wants you to know, right away, that it’s a racecar. Whether it’s the bucket seats, race harnesses, escape pod cabin or center-mounted exhaust, everything on the RP1 screams, “I like to go FAST!” Even the “feet-up” driving position, where your legs are stretched out in front of you, is inspired by F1 cars.
Yet despite its racing DNA, the RP1 can be driven just as easily on the street as any other car. After a few modifications, of course.
“Our original brief was to build a lightweight, two-seater, track car with exceptional performance and easily adjustable dynamics,” explains John Begley, Technical Director of Elemental. “But once we had begun to design it, we realized we could incorporate some major material and design advances and make the car not only track-capable but road legal. This concept became the RP1.”
This suspension can be altered for rougher driving surfaces; the seats can be adjusted to fit people up to 6’6” and, best of all, these alterations can all be made by one person.
“The road and track cars available outside of the professional arena have never lived up my expectations,” Begley says on Elemental’s website. “I knew I could do better so the logical result of this was to design and build my own.”
And so he did. To meet those high expectations, Begley threw out the logic and just about everything else you’d find on a normal car: the Ecoboost-powered RP1 is a sea of carbon fiber, composite, aluminum, and plastic, and has no creature comforts to speak of.
It’s basically a racing seat, a steering wheel, and an engine. The result? The Elemental weighs 2,452 pounds less than the 2015 Corvette (yes, you read that right), and even 220 pounds less than the Ariel Atom 3.5R. Simply put, the RP1 makes other sports cars look like riverboats.
280 horsepower with such little fat to lug around should account for some obscene performance figures. If the RP1 can put its power down evenly, it should accelerate from 0 to 60 in well under three seconds. For comparison’s sake, the Caterham Superlight R500 weighs 1115 pounds, makes 263 horsepower, and sprints to 60 in 2.9 seconds.
Perhaps less really is more. Look for the RP1 in action when makes its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this month.