It makes you proud to be British doesn’t it? Caterham, that quiet little corner of Surrey, England. Home of the most proudly independent car company by the same name. Now playing in the big league of motorsport, Formula 1.
It sounds like a fairy tale and for Caterham Cars MD, Ansar Ali, it certainly is. Just over 18 months ago he was dreaming of the company’s next steps, wondering how he’d keep his low-volume sportscars competitive, whilst the rest of the car industry continued its inevitable march towards globalisation.
What room was there for a niche car maker like Caterham, in a sector full of industrial giants?
Then along came Tony Fernandes, with his ambition to grow the Team Lotus name, and when that didn’t work Ansar was there at the right time, with the right proposition to pick up the pieces.
It’s about now we’d usually say, “and the rest is history..”, but we’re still at the beginning of the journey. History hasn’t yet been written, so this is just the prologue and the video above represents the calibre of brand which Caterham has now become.
This weekend, at the inaugural 2012 F1 grand prix in Melbourne, Australia, Caterham takes to the grid for the first time, nearly 40 years after acquiring the rights to build the legendary Seven from Lotus founder, Colin Chapman.
And to mark the occasion, what better way than to gather its expanded family of cars together in this new video, aptly named, ‘Caterham DNA’.
SkiddMark reader, Nigel Pugh, was honoured to provide his self-built Superlight R500 for the film, but sadly was unable to join the photo shoot himself, which saw the team’s F1 drivers Heikki Kovalainen and (at the time) Jarno Trulli drive it around Jerez circuit.
Joining the Superlight R500 was the new SP/300.R sports prototype and Caterham’s 2012 CT01 formula one car – complete with this year’s fashionable ‘platypus’ nose.
It struck me whilst watching, that you could count the number of car makers on one-hand who could present the same sort of motorsport pedigree in 2012 – Ferrari (of course), plus McLaren, Mercedes and Lotus. So if we’re using Formula One as the cut-off, that’s a pretty elite company of brands the Surrey-based car maker now finds itself in.
History will be written in 2012, very different to that of previous years, and on the basis of this video and last month’s CT01 launch video (below), I’d say the company are in pretty good shape.
Staying in touch
If you’ve not already taken a look, Caterham has revamped their ‘MyCaterham’ customer portal with a new design and updated the site’s video, news, images and social media feeds. You can keep in touch with the F1 Team, Caterham’s wide-ranging motorsport series and all the developments with Caterham road cars including the forthcoming new model range.
You’ll find it at http://my.caterham.co.uk/, where you’ll also be able to view photos of your own Caterham, after uploading to the company’s Flickr group.
Photo credits: Nigel Pugh, Caterham Cars.