After the race series for the SP/300.R was canned due to poor sales and a general lack of interest, Caterham chose to think laterally by fitting the 2-litre Ford Duratec power plant in the tried and tested Seven. Welcome to the Superlight R600 – like the hugely successful R300, but.. twice as much fun.
However my mind turned to Ansar Ali, Caterham’s former CEO, when I first heard of the R600.
You see, Ansar knew that following such a well-trodden path was a fool’s errand, the Seven has had its day and whilst it will (rightly) be around for a long time to come, Caterham as a company needs to’ move on.
But Ansar found that he simply could not work with Tony Fernandes, the man he persuaded to buy the Dartford car maker in late 2010. Ansar created a plan to take Caterham forward, but Fernandes vetoed this, wishing instead to develop affordable everyday cars for the Asian markets.
Fernandes also showed a complete lack of interest in the SP/300.R, so its fate was sealed and the R600 is what’s left to show for all their efforts.
Of course the R600 is still a hugely exciting prospect. It’s the first ever Seven to feature forced induction, delivering a full 100bhp more than the 175bhp R300, and with 200lb-ft of torque provides a 13% increase on the current road-going Superlight R500. In fact it’s like an SP/300.R without all the downforce, which should prove a lively bundle to control, especially when there are 16 others dicing for the same corner.
The race package includes a six-speed, sequential gearbox, Titan limited-slip differential and Avon radial slicks or wets, but R300 owners will be offered a package to upgrade their cars to the full R600 spec.
The R600 race car will cost £44,995 as a standalone car, or approximately £16,000 as an upgrade package for the current Superlight R300 race car.
Caterham released a series of stunning images of the R600 taken at Castle Combe circuit, so we thought you might like the choice of four to download. Just click on the buttons below and save them to your desktop.
Images: Caterham Cars.
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