On August 12-13, I took a quick trip down to Houston to meet Ian and Simon Dawson of Radical Texas and show support for the opening of the new race shop onsite at their home track, MSR Houston. It was a blur of great people having great conversation, sharing great food, and lots of laps around the track.
MSR Houston is a 2.4-mile track with 17 turns in total. Facilities are complete with garages, buildings, driving schools, and race teams onsite, such as Radical Texas. It also boasts a very nice Karting course. I found MSR to be a very interesting track for a couple of reasons:
1. MSR can be configured to run both clockwise and counter-clockwise. On many tracks, this is not possible due to lack of design features (for example, a hot pit and entry/exit that are compatible for both directions), but also due to safety--Either various features of the track do not bode well in certain directions, or safety features on the track (locations of walls and tires barriers, run-off areas, etc) are designed for use given a very specific vector of travel. Because MSR can run both directions, it's effectively 2 tracks, providing a variety of exciting and unique configurations.
2. MSR is very technical. At 17 turns and 2.4 miles, MSR has 2 more turns than High Plains (the XNR home track), while also being about 900 feet shorter per lap. What this means is that MSR has shorter straights and some tight turns that require a lot from a driver--one can spend many years mastering a track like this. With that said, there is a lack of elevation change at MSR--But we're a bit spoiled with that aspect out in Colorado.
While the Grand Opening catered primarily to the Texas customer base, I did get an opportunity to ride in a brand spakin' new SR8 with Alex, one of Radical's professional drivers from the UK. I was incredibly impressed by both the skill that Alex displayed on track, and the nearly transcendental performance of the new SR8. This, ladies and gentleman, is what your imagination generates when you think about racing in a Formula car. This is plain and simply, exactly what we had in mind when we thought of the name, XNR. While there are currently no XNR customers driving the SR8, were going to try to change that--new goal: Get more SR8's driving out here in Denver!
With the visceral enjoyment of the SR8 in the rear-view mirror, I spent some time building my business relationship with Radical Texas and customers in the shop, gathering some parts for XNR customers back in Denver, and documenting the Radical Texas setup--Simon and Ian contain a really vast amount of knowledge about racing and Radicals--Ian has raced LeMans, if I recall, 20 times. And he is still alive! So, I paid careful attention to how the shop was set up, how they got to where they are, and where they are headed. I spoke with their Crew Chief Darren and spent time with some of the Radical executives that were out from the UK.
Id like to share a few pics of that media documentation while I was down there. In addition to the below pics, you can see several real-time live Facebook videos that are on the XNR Facebook page here:
Below: Row 1, left to right: Radical SR8 set up with iRacing as a simulator, 2017 Radical RXC Spyder on display, one row of cars in the shop. Row 2, left to right: Another row of the shop, the SR9 LMP2 car, and the Radical race shop from outside. Row 3: View of the track from 2nd floor near Radical's race shop.
Lastly, to close this blog out, I captured a few quick videos that have not been uploaded elsewhere yet; they are view-able below.
Visiting Radical Texas was fantastic;it provided an opportunity to create some new business relationships, meet some amazing people, and raise awareness of Radical around the US. We wish Radical Texas the best with their new shop and look forward to seeing them, hopefully at some point in Colorado!
Video 1: Radicals depart the shop to get a session in on track
Video 2: Two Radicals pass the front straight at MSR
Video 3: A few bikes run the track following Radical sessions