The legendary Caterham Seven has a new challenger to the throne as British sports car maker Caterham today revealed an entirely new model to its line-up with the unveiling of the Caterham-Lola SP/300.R at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham.
Surrey-based manufacturer Caterham has opened an exciting new chapter, joining forces with iconic British engineering brand, Lola Cars to create its first ever sports prototype racing car for a new one-make series and the trackday community.
Designed as a major new addition to sit alongside the Seven, the Caterham-Lola SP/300.R is powered by the Caterham Motorsport's next-generation engine. It also incorporates the Caterham Motorsport-tuned new supercharged version of the Ford Duratec unit, which is expected to produce around 300bhp, propel the sub-600kg car from 0-60mph in around 2.5 seconds and reach speeds of 170mph.
With Lola, as technical design consultant, leading the aerodynamic styling and downforce development in collaboration with Caterham's design direction, the Seven's engineers developed the power plant and the braking system, ensuring the two-seater remains true to its lightweight, minimalist DNA with both the renowned ride and handling characteristics firmly transferred into the SP/300.R.
In readiness for a one-make championship to start in 2012, Caterham is now in the final stages of the powertrain development and the handling characteristics of the car, while the feasibility of a road-legal version of the car is also being considered. Details of the championship are yet to be finalised, but the SP/300.R series will initially focus on UK circuits, with the potential addition of one round abroad.
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.
While the global expansion of the Seven's motor racing activity will continue unabated, the SP/300.R, will provide the 'top end' natural progression for Caterham's already successful domestic and international racing 'ladder' and provide the growing premium trackday community – both home and abroad – with a potent new model.
Speaking at the unveiling, Ansar Ali, managing director of Caterham Cars, explained: “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,” he said. “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,” Mr Ali continued.