£60,000 (about $95,802)
liter Duratec inline-4
hp per liter
(from Caterham Press
Release) Caterham Opens Exciting New Chapter in its History
• British sportscar
maker unveils its first sports prototype racer
• Design input from Lola and state-of-the-art Ford power
• Supercharged Ford Duratec power to generate 0-60mph in around
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
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
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.”
The beating heart of the
SP/300.R will be a Caterham-tuned, supercharged version of Ford’s
2.0L Duratec unit, which will produce 300bhp.
The Company’s long-standing relationship with Ford continues to
allow Caterham’s engineers unparalleled technical access to the Ford
range of engines. Today, Ford products power the entire range of
Caterham cars, from the entry-level Roadsport through the entire
Caterham’s engineers have chosen the supercharged Duratec with its
drivers in mind. As with all Caterham products, the driving
experience is at the core of the SP/300.R’s design.
The supercharged induction module has therefore been chosen for its
linear torque delivery across the entire engine speed range, which
is perfectly-matched to the lightweight architecture of the car.
The Duratec unit is well-known to Caterham’s engineers and already
boasts a proven track record as a resilient engine that is
cost-effective for customers to run, while other offerings feature a
more ‘all or nothing’ character and require further refinement
before Caterham will consider using them.
Caterham has worked alongside partners such as Pectel to deliver a
highly-developed package that will reward drivers with advanced data
logging and features such as ‘push to pass’ power enhancement and an
integrated semi-automatic gearshift control.
The SP/300.R will be capable of being adapted to suit alternative
engines but the factory-fit engine will offer unrivalled levels of
reliability – together with a perfectly-matched Hewland
semi-automatic FTR transmission, Caterham aims to reproduce the
enormously-durable drivetrain solution that has been so successful
in the Superlight R300 series, where engine rebuilds are virtually
The rich racing heritage
of the Caterham Seven and Caterham’s motorsport expertise will
ensure the success of the Company’s expansion into sports prototype
However to achieve that end, Caterham has teamed up with the world’s
leading manufacturer of customer race cars, Lola Cars. Its
expertise, particularly in the sports racing category, was
invaluable in the creation and styling of a bespoke chassis that
forms the basis of the SP/300.R.
With the styling aerodynamically, rather than aesthetically led, the
SP/300.R has been designed using Lola’s state-of-the-art CFD
(Computational Fluid Dynamics) technology, with input and critique
The basic chassis is an aluminium tub with a longitudinally
mid-mounted engine, coupled to a stress-bearing rear transaxle. A
forward splitter and large rear wing reduce lift, while a flat
underbody maximises ground effect benefits.
A broad aero platform generates optimal downforce and balance, while
the aerodynamic performance is fine-tuned by ducts and dive-planes.
The SP/300.R bodywork also features an F1-style raised nose section
and sectioned panels, which will help reduce repair costs, ease
maintenance and, importantly, allow single-handed removal of body
Caterham’s research suggests that most sports prototypes in today’s
market require more than one person to assist in the removal of body
panels, e.g. oil check, set-up, etc; the SP/300.R will be the only
sports prototype that offers this unique, flexible and yet
The car also takes subtle design cues from the instantly-recognisable
Caterham Seven; for instance, the Seven’s grille shape appears
beneath the raised nose of the SP/300.R.
The pairing of Lola’s
world-beating aerodynamic package with the Ford engine will produce
a car that will easily meet the desires of Caterham customers,
whether they are seeking their first serious step into sports
prototype racing or the ultimate trackday machine.
The supercharged Duratec’s 300bhp will propel the sub-600kg car from
0-60mph in around 2.5 seconds, translating into 500bhp-per-tonne,
excluding the driver.
The gearing of the car has been selected to reach maximum rpm in top
gear at the end of Spa-Francorchamps circuit’s Kemmel Straight,
chosen as it is one of the more frequently-visited race and trackday
venues. Top speed will be around 170mph.
The SP/300.R will
benefit from full race suspension – front and rear dual wishbones
with pushrod dampers, adjustable ride height and bespoke wheels and
tyres will all make for a race car of exquisite balance and
The rear suspension architecture is derived from that used at the
rear end of the Lola Formula 3 and World Junior cars – coupled with
the high downforce generated by the aerodynamic package, this will
be a direct and rewarding race car to drive.
Wheels & Tyres
Thanks to Caterham’s
long-standing partner, Cooper Avon Tyres, the SP/300.R will stand on
bespoke rubber developed specially by Cooper Tire for this car.
Cooper Tire provides tyres for the British Formula 3 International
Series, acknowledged as the toughest domestic single-seater
championship in the world and a recognised ‘stepping stone’ to
Formula 1. The SP/300.R’s tyres are fitted to 13-inch race rims.
Measuring a muscular 250mm wide at the rear, and 180mm at the front,
the tyres have been specifically designed to cope with vast engine
torque married to a lightweight chassis.
Naturally, the SP/300.R
has been built to comply with MSA safety regulations. The main
component of the safety system is a roll cage, which has been
designed specifically for the car and incorporated into the styling
The chassis has also been designed as a race chassis with the
requisite crash structures. Other components include the six-point
harness, fire extinguisher, cut-off switch and so on.
In keeping with the
SP/300.R’s stature as a premium race product, Caterham has selected
fixings and fittings of a very high quality.
These include the steering wheel, which incorporates data display
(Stack/MOMO), wheels (ATS, Speedline or OZ), brakes (AP Racing) and
driver’s harness (Schroth).
With Caterham’s vastly
rich heritage in motorsport - both domestically and internationally
- it is no surprise to find that Caterham Motorsport is planning a
prestigious one-make series in which the SP/300.R will star.
The details of its own 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.
However, the projected success of the cornerstone debut season is
expected to make the SP/300.R and its race series eminently
marketable further afield in Europe, which will provide a major
boost to Caterham’s already thriving export market.
Caterham has proven over
the last 25 years that it is expert in producing and managing
world-class motor racing championships and events.
The Company’s motorsport ‘ladder’ provides a cost-effective,
easy-to-run solution for drivers of any ability to get into racing,
from complete novices with the Academy series to the Superlight R300
for seasoned semi-professionals.
The Caterham Academy, which takes novice non-racers through the
process of getting their race licence to enjoying their first season
of competitive action, has become one of the UK domestic scene’s
lynch pins, creating around 750 brand new racing drivers since its
inception in 1995.
It is the proven organisational expertise and infrastructure that
will run the new one-make championship for the SP/300.R, starting in
The Caterham-Lola SP/300.R is priced at £60,000, excluding local