NASA Arizona Medical Director Dr. Paul Lynch started out in racing about three years ago with a couple of goals in mind. First, to have fun, of course. Second, he wanted raise awareness of chronic pain and help promote his practice at Arizona Pain Specialists in Scottsdale, Ariz. To get started, Lynch bought a 2006 Radical SR3 to get on track and formed Team Arizona Pain.

“One in three people have chronic pain, which no one realizes the number is that high,” Lynch said. “That’s literally 100 million Americans that deal with pain every day, neck, back, hips, knees, shoulders, whatever, and so we literally will get two or three patients every weekend. And it’s not just the racers. It’s their families and friends and people that come out to visit.”

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Having a bright yellow Radical SR3 certainly enhances the visibility of your car and your message, but in what turned out to be a lucky accident, Lynch and NASA Arizona Regional Director Tage Evanson and Precision Chassis Works in Gilbert, Ariz., have put together what may well be the only car of its kind on the planet.

Stock power for a Radical SR3 is the 1,400 cc four-cylinder engine from a Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle. Its 175 horsepower is certainly enough to push the 1,500-pound car around a track quickly, but Lynch took exception to the service interval. For every 30 hours of track time, the engine needed to be refreshed, a service that costs around $12,000. The interval is short, which results in downtime from racing, not to mention the expense.

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Lynch had already bought an SR8, which uses essentially two Hayabusa engines “Frankensteined” together to form a small V8, so when it came time to refresh his SR3, he began to think about what he could do to make the car better.

“I said why don’t we rebuild this with something different?” Lynch said. “Why don’t we take the SR3 and see if we can make it as fast as the SR8 Radical, which is a huge advance in technology. They’re a lot faster. So the idea was to make the SR3 as fast as the SR8, and make it more reliable and have more time between rebuilds, and something that will be as reliable as a street car.”

On a five-hour drive from the Phoenix area to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nev., Lynch and Evanson brainstormed ideas for a new powertrain. There were space considerations, of course. The Radical SR3 engine compartment is limiting. There was a budget and horsepower targets and the goal to win a NASA National Championship with the car.

During the drive, Evanson contacted Kent Porter at Precision Chassis Works, who had just done a rebuild of a Porsche Boxster using a turbocharged Subaru engine. That was the recipe they schemed up, an engine out of a Subaru STi and the manual gearbox from a Porsche Boxster. They came home, measured everything, determined it would fit, and so Porter got to work.

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The engine fits in the space, but Porter needed to alter the frame to make room for the turbo and severely change the way the cross bracing was done at the rear to accommodate the Porsche transaxle, a G86-20 six speed. Porter said the adaptive components were from a kit Precision makes to swap the Subaru engine into Porsche Boxsters, whose flat sixes are prone to catastrophic failure and expensive to replace.

They also reinforced the chassis to account for the additional horsepower and torque, but left the factory suspension alone. The brakes were sourced from an SR8.

“The only thing we did to the motor was upgrade the fuel injectors and turn the boost up,” Porter said. Porter also added a larger Garrett intercooler.

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They did have some teething problems with overheating, so they added cooling capacity. They also had some trouble with axles. The factory axles didn’t work, so they had some made. They broke those so they went big.

“They finally went and got some axles that I think were off Porsche Cup Cars that are supposed to be rated for 800 horsepower, or some big number,” Lynch said. “We were very conservative in the beginning because we thought there would be a lot of weak links. So we didn’t add a whole lot of power.”

In stock form, the engine makes 275 crankshaft horsepower. In the Team Arizona Pain Radical, it makes 350 at the wheels all day long. The larger-than-stock intercooler fits atop the engine in the stock location, yet still allows the factory bodywork to fit in place.

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“We’ve had it now for 14 months, and the engine has not had one problem at all,” Lynch said. “We’ve been struggling with the power it’s making and the axles, and some of that, but our idea is to run it for four or five years and never touch the engine. It only weighs like 1,500 pounds dry, so it doesn’t put much strain on the motor.”

They took the car to the National Championships last year, but suffered a crash and took fourth place. This year at Miller Motorsports Park, they led TTU on Sunday, only to be bested by Kyle Schick in his Nissan GTR. So, for 2014, the team will be gunning hard for a National Championship. He’ll also use the car continue raising awareness for chronic pain.

“Our car has always been one of the most popular because it looks cool and everything, but when we did this new Subaru thing, the interest went up even further because it’s so unique and no one’s ever seen anything like it,” Lynch said. “We always have people standing around, taking pictures and asking questions, so I always take the opportunity to talk to them about pain and helping people. Tage understands the car backward and forward, and how to work on them, but for me, I love to drive them. But what I really like to do is my profession, to help people with pain. For me, it’s been a lot of fun. It’s, I think, been ridiculously successful from that perspective.”

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Owner:

Paul Lynch

Year:

2006

Make:

Radical

Model:

SR3

Weight:

1,500 lbs.

Engine:

Rally spec 2.0-liter Subaru STi four-cylinder, 350 horsepower

Suspension:

Front: dual wishbone, coil overs, three-way adjustable shocks

Rear: dual wishbone, coil overs, three-way adjustable shocks

Tires:

Rear: Hoosier R75, 23.5 x 11 x 16; Front: Hoosier R80, 215-580-15

Brakes:

Front: four-piston stock Radical, from SR8

Rear: four-piston stock Radical, from SR8

Data system:

Racepak, AiM Solo

Sponsors:

Arizona Pain Specialists
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Image courtesy of Brett Becker