Remember the Rp1, the lightweight, track-focused roadster presented by British start-up Elemental a couple of years ago? Run by a bunch of guys who have previously worked for McLaren, Porsche, AMG and Lotus, and led by John Begley, whose resumé features iconic names such as McLaren Mercedes SLR, 12C and P1, the novice sportscar maker will debut its first production-spec Rp1 at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed. “Completing the very first production chassis at our new manufacturing premises is a tremendous achievement for the entire Elemental team and we are looking forward to giving the Rp1 its first official outing on the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed Hillclimb,” says Begley, who is Elemental’s Technical Director and Founder.
Development work started on the Rp1 nearly four years ago, with the intention of creating “one of the most advanced cars of its kind”, and the production car fittingly boasts a power-to-weight ratio of 500 horsepower per tonne. That’s just a handful of ponies per tonne less than the Bugatti Veyron. However, what’s even more impressive is that this has been achieved with a 320bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine which also lets the Rp1 dash to 96kph from standstill in just 2.8 seconds. There’s a second powertrain option, which is a puny, but force-fed 1.0-litre three-pot, which makes 180bhp and does the 0-96kph (0-60mph) sprint in 3.2 seconds.
One of the main factors helping the Rp1 attain such levels of performance is the CarbonAl tub chassis, which has been upgraded from prototype form to production form in this vehicle. The entire central structure apparently weighs just 65kg and sports a feet-up driving position derived from top-tier racers such as F1 cars or endurance prototypes. Elemental also claims that the car has been built to exceed FIA standards for structural strength and rigidity and uses high-performance F1-grade carbon fibre. Added to this is the unique underbody aerodynamics package that helps the Rp1 generate up to 400kg of downforce at 241kph in standard road height set-up.
If you want to see the production Rp1 tackling the Goodwood Hillclimb, head to the Festival of Speed, which will be held from June 23 to 26. Elemental will also put up a second production chassis on display at the Festival’s Stand no:12.