It doesn't end at overall fit and finish, either.
Track cars are awesome but most are plagued by one major problem: they're too skittish to be enjoyed properly on the open road. We're not saying it's impossible to have fun in them away from a racing circuit, and we're well aware that car companies such as Caterham do offer lower-power cars to meet those requirements. However, their low weight and lack of aerodynamic traction means it's often hard to feel properly on top of what the vehicle in question is doing - and it's here where the downforce-laden Elemental Rp1 comes into the fray.
When we say 'downforce-laden', we legitimately mean it. Elemental claims the Rp1 will generate up to 882 lbs of the stuff (equivalent to roughly 2/3 of the car's overall mass) at 150 mph, which is far higher than anything in this class without a rear wing produces. Furthermore, the Rp1 was designed from the outset to be the "grand tourer of track cars." Elemental claims a 300-mile range for the Rp1 (about double what you'd get from many other cars of this ilk), and the 7 cubic foot trunk space is double what you'd find in the latest Audi R8 supercar. This emphasis ease-of-use also manifests itself in the chassis setup pieces, which are all color coded to aid owners who aren't too experienced with suspension adjustments and toe-in alterations.
Speaking of the suspension, almost everything on the Rp1 has been modified and replaced since the prototype was revealed two years ago. The suspension, brakes and wing mirrors are all new; there's now suede patches to provide added comfort for broader-chested owners and the new seat runners means even six-and-a-half footers can comfortably fit. It's that seat runners titbit in particular that really demonstrates Elemental's fastidious attention to detail that goes from the exemplary build quality that was already impressive on the prototype, to the decision to hold back on offering carbon fiber wheel rims on the basis that it's unsure how safe they'll be, due to the risk of carbon rims shattering over sharper high speed bumps and jolts.
Such a mindset when developing the car (which was jokingly referred to by the representative we spoke to as down to "the boss forgetting he isn't running a Formula One team") certainly explains the car's long gestation period. But the end of the Rp1's development is drawing near, as Elemental reckons the production-spec cars will be ready to roll out of the firm's farm-based factory before the year is out. Sometime next year, EU approval is also expected to be attained - which, along with ensuring the car can be legally sold and driven in most of Europe, will also bring the Rp1 one step closer to being offered in the United States. It's been one helluva wait, but we've a sneaking suspicion the Elemental Rp1 will be well worth it.