Caterham reveals the new SP/300.R

This morning at the Autosport International Show Caterham revealed their first all-new model in over 15 years – the SP/300.R is a joint project between Caterham and Lola Cars that they describe as “..the perfect alchemy of British engineering superiority and rich motorsport heritage”.

I received a heads-up early last week when Steve Hindle, ex-Motorsport Manager for Westfield Sportscars, contacted me and mentioned Lola and Caterham were definitely getting together soon to produce something along the lines of Westfield’s XTR.

But unlike the XTR, this is a foray for Caterham into mainstream sports prototype racing, the SP/300.R is not a road car and at this stage Caterham have not confirmed a road going version as Radical have done with their cars.

Caterham describe the SP/300.R as follows..

[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”center”]It’s always been about driving. The feeling of the car beneath you, inspiring you to push boundaries. The aggression of the acceleration and braking forces acting on your body. The satisfaction of placing the car with absolute precision. The way the car communicates with you, constantly feeding a stream of data to every sense, synapse and nerve ending. Only a true driver knows these feelings. This is driving.[/blockquote]

As with all Caterhams, the SP/300.R has first and foremost been developed as a true driver’s car. It doesn’t matter how fast a car is, if it isn’t
rewarding to drive it will never be truly thrilling. However, the SP/300.R fuses all of Caterham’s core brand values such as durability, ease of use, practicality for racing and low maintenance costs with Lola’s technologically advanced approach to research and development.

Working alongside Lola Cars, Caterham have delivered a lightweight, minimalist product that amplifies Colin Chapman’s Seven philosophy, yet conveys everything Caterham and Lola stand for today.

[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”center”]

The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. Home to the notorious Eau Rouge. The distracting wall of asphalt towers steeply above you, looming ever larger as you race towards it. It dominates your peripheral vision, filling the entire sky. You remain completely focused on the apex though; any slight hesitation will be punished along the eternity of the Kemmel straight.

You sweep left then right with millimetre precision, going faster than you believed possible. The aerodynamics pin the car to the surface as the supercharger begins to impose it’s will on the laws of physics. Your inexorable acceleration towards 290kph continues unabated. The next corner begins to come into view. This is SP/300.R

[/blockquote]

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.

“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.”

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.

The Caterham-Lola SP/300.R is priced at £60,000, excluding local taxes.

At a glance

At the heart of the SP/300.R is an extensive technical specification which unlike many racing cars includes a very comprehensive list of standard equipment with no hidden costs or expensive extras required.

The engine used is a supercharged 4-cylinder 2.0-litre Ford Duractec producing 301 bhp @ 7500 rpm with a push-to-pass peak power of 331 bhp @ 7800 rpm. Unladed weight is just 545 kg enabling the SP/300.R to sprint from 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds (which is a strange measurement to quote for a race car) and maximum speed of 181 mph.

We’ll have some futher analysis during the next few days, in the meantime the full technical spec is contained below – just click the button to reveal.

[reveal title=”Technical Specification – SP/300.R ” ]
Engine: Supercharged Ford Duratec 2.0L
Power: 305PS @ 7500rpm
Push-to-Pass Power: 335PS @ 7800rpm
Max Torque: 290Nm @ 7500rpm
Top Speed: 181 mph
0-60: 2.8s (claimed)
Wheelbase: 2600mm
Overall Length: 4200mm
Overall Width: 1700mm
Height: 1015mm
Downforce: 450kg @ 250kph
Weight: 545kg

Powertrain

  • Caterham supercharged Ford Duratec 1999cc
  • Rotrex supercharger with charge air cooling
  • Aero optimised induction
  • Uprated conrods, pistons and bearings
  • Dry sump oil system
  • High efficiency ducted cooling system (40oC ambient)
  • Aero optimised high level ducted quiet exhaust
  • Hewland FTR six speed sequential gearbox
  • Shiftec paddle shift system
  • Dual plate sintered clutch
  • Limited slip differential

Suspension

  • Adjustable pushrod activiated coil-over spring-dampers
  • Adjustable anti-roll bars front and rear
  • Lola Formula 3 gearbox mounted suspension

Chassis and Body

  • Lola-developed aluminium honeycomb monocoque chassis
  • Seven-piece lightweight polyurethane body system
  • Lola-developed aero package, including:
  • – Adjustable carbon rear wing
    – Composite front splitter
    – Composite rear diffuser
    – Aero optimised dive planes
    – Three stage downforce configuration
  • Quick lifting onboard air jack system
  • Left or right hand drive
  • Schroth six point harnesses
  • MSA specification twin roll over protection hoops
  • MSA specification front crash structure
  • FIA approved fuel cell with external filling point

Braking System

  • AP Racing braking system
  • AP Racing adjustable pedal box

Wheels and Tyres

  • ATS centre-lock Formula 3 wheels 9×13 and 10.5×13
  • Cooper Formula 3 size bespoke slick tyres

Electronics

  • Front low/high beam lights with permanent LED running lights
  • Rear LED running lights with integrated brake lights
  • High-intensity rain light
  • Pectel engine and gearbox management system with integrated data logging
  • Momo steering wheel with integral driver display system
[/reveal]

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