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New Caterham track car

by Wilhelm Lutjeharms on 17/01/2011

Comments: 0

Specialist British manufacturer Caterham has been building track-orientated sportscars for road use for decades and is possibly the most well-known manufacturer of Lotus 7 reproductions today.

The SP/300.R, which was unveiled at the Autosport International Show in Britain, is the first totally new car from this manufacturer since its not so successful 21 from the mid-90s. For this project, Caterham teamed up with Lola Cars to produce a lightweight aluminium honeycomb monocoque chassis.

The claimed performance figures for the SP/300.R are staggering… The 0-100 km/h sprint will, according to Caterham, take only 2,8 seconds, top speed is 290 km/h while, as with all Caterhams, weight is kept down to the minimum. Weighing only 545 kg this track racer will surely be suited for any type of circuit. The kerb weight is quite an achievement since Caterham’s lightest 7 at the moment, the R500, tips the scales at 506 kg.

A supercharged version of the Ford Duratec 2,0-litre engine that produces around 224 kW at 7 500 r/min and 290 Nm at 7 500 r/min, provides the propulsion for the SP/300.R. Before being fitted to this track car, the engine’s connecting rods, pistons and bearings were uprated. Mated with this engine is a Hewland FTR six speed sequential gearbox that sends power to the rear wheels via a limited slip differential.

Caterham has even turned to Formula 3 to acquire some of the SP/300.R’s mechanicals. The rear suspension was borrowed from a Lola Formula 3 car, as was the ATS centre lock wheels and Cooper slick racing tyres. There are three different configurations for the car’s aerodynamics package, and Caterham claims that at 250 km/h the SP/300.R can generated 450 kg of downforce.

Although this is a pure racer, there are a couple of exterior details that we have come to appreciate on road cars, such as LED lights at the front and rear. The front LEDs are permanent day time running lights and the rear ones form part of the brake lights.

No pricing details or release date for South Africa have yet been made public, but expect this car to cost more than the current fastest 7, the R500 which is priced in the UK at £41 000 (R440 000).