Also unexpected: the fact that it's somehow street-legal.
Car culture takes on many different forms throughout the world, typically varying by region. In the US, we have muscle cars. Japan has its own flavor of extracting horsepower and adding style, and in the UK, there's a love for small roadsters that are great at turning up good lap times or at least making their drivers feel like rockstars behind the wheel. It's a funny obsession to have for a country that spends much of its time in bad weather, but a few clouds didn't hold back John Begley when he founded Elemental Cars and churned out the RP1.
If you haven't heard of it, maybe you need a refresher on the track car that came to last year's Goodwood Festival of Speed making bold claims. It's built to be fast but also as modern as possible and, most importantly, legal to drive on the road. Not a lot of its competition can tout that previous feature, but does that make the RP1 less of a track bruiser?
Autocar was just as curious of that, so it borrowed one for an in-depth review. Fans of these sorts of British track cars that live in the US may want to pay attention because this is about as close Americans can get to these cars without buying a plane ticket to get across the pond. It's hard not to be envious of UK drivers, especially when the RP1 has variable engine maps that a driver can flick through in order to properly warm up the car or scale the horsepower back and the safety systems up if skill isn't their forte. The RP1 is precise and insane, but what else do you expect from a guy crazy enough to quit his job at McLaren to build his own track cars?