Caterham Cars has opened an exciting new chapter in its 50-year history with the release of its first ever sports prototype racing car for a new one-make series and the trackday community. Unveiled at the Autosport International Show (Birmingham, UK), the Caterham-Lola SP/300.R is a major new addition to sit alongside the legendary Seven, yet remains true to its lightweight, minimalist DNA to deliver all the thrills of driving a fast, but confidence-inspiring, sportscar.
Created in partnership with another iconic British engineering brand, Lola Cars, the aesthetically-sensitive sports prototype will also feature the debut of Caterham Motorsport’s new supercharged version of the Ford Duratec power plant, expected to produce around 300bhp.
Caterham is in the final stages of development of the powertrain and handling characteristics of the car, in readiness for a one-make championship to start in 2012, while the feasibility of a road-legal version of the car is also being considered.
Only 25 SP/300.Rs will be manufactured each year, allowing Caterham to focus on enhancing the build quality of every vehicle and maximising its renowned one-to-one customer service.
The car will provide the ‘top end’ natural progression for Caterham’s already successful domestic and international racing ‘ladder’. It will also provide the blossoming premium trackday community – both home and abroad – with a potent new model.
Bearing subtle design cues from the Seven, the first new model from Caterham since the 21 road car reproduces the Company’s core motorsport values of affordability, reliability and accessibility.
With Lola, as technical design consultant, leading the aerodynamic styling and downforce development in collaboration with Caterham’s design direction, the Seven’s engineers have been responsible for developing the power plant, braking system and making sure the two-seater’s renowned ride and handling characteristics are firmly transferred into the SP/300.R.
While the global expansion of the Seven’s motor racing activity will continue unabated, the SP/300.R will allow Caterham’s loyal clientele to move further up the performance racing ‘ladder’ without having to leave the proven expertise and ‘value for money’ of the Company’s motorsport infrastructure.
“Motorsport is not only part of the history of Caterham, it’s been the lifeblood running through the character of our vehicles – race cars for the road,” explains Ansar Ali, managing director of Caterham Cars. “Today, racing is not only the heartbeat of the business, it’s an intrinsic part of our fabric both here and abroad and the SP/300.R represents the next logical step in the development of our product offering.”