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Elemental Rp1 set for dynamic shakedown at Goodwood

Elemental has built its first production-specification Rp1 lightweight sports car at its new facility in Hampshire.

The completion of the 500bhp/tonne Rp1 is a landmark moment for the British manufacturer which has been developing the lightweight sports car over the past four years.

John Begley, Elemental’s Technical Director and Founder said: “The Rp1 has been designed and developed to deliver a thrilling driving experience no matter if it’s on road or track… we are looking forward to giving the Rp1 its first official outing on the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed Hillclimb.”

Central to the Rp1’s design is Elemental’s patented CarbonAl tub that weighs 65kg and incorporates a feet-up driving position – the same seating position as that found of F1 and World Endurance prototypes. It has been built to exceed FIA structural standards for strength and rigidity and is made using high-performance F1-grade carbon fibre.  

Mark Fowler, Bodywork and Aerodynamics Lead and Elemental co-founder said: “The feet-up driving position puts the Rp1 at the forefront of its sector as it provides space to accommodate a diffuser under the front half of the car as part of the cutting edge aerodynamics package. Thanks to this and the rear diffuser, the Rp1 is able to generate remarkable downforce to offer exceptional levels of grip.”

The car has been modelled using the latest Computational Fluid Dynamics software which indicates that the Rp1 begins to generate ‘meaningful downforce even at motorways speeds’ with 400kg of downforce generated at 150mph in the standard road height set-up. Fowler is confident of achieving an even greater figure in the more aggressive track-focussed set-up.

The Rp1’s suspension can be tweaked and optimised by the user, either by hand or using basic tools, enabling a level of chassis adjustment that would normally require the services of a fully trained mechanic – particularly useful at track days.

Switchable traction control is fitted as standard. With the option of up to five traction control and engine map settings, ranging from standard road to full race setups, the car can be tailored to a driver’s driving style and the prevailing surface conditions.

Power comes from a choice of two turbocharged Ford EcoBoost engines - a 180bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder and a 320bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder that propel the car from 0-60mph in 3.2sec and 2.8sec respectively. 

Despite the Rp1’s performance focus, it also offers a degree of practicality in the form of two 100-litre storage binnacles located behind the rear bulkhead.

As well as the car driving up the Hill, a second production car will be on display at the Elemental stand located within the exhibition area. 

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is open from 23-26 June.