MEET the new Caterham R500 – the latest mental machine from the British sports car manufacturer. Boasting an incredible 520bhp per tonne, the tiny tearaway can hit 60mph in an eyeball-popping 2.8 seconds.
Weighing in at just 506kg and producing 263bhp from a 2.0-litre Ford engine, the R500 is the most potent race-tuned production Seven yet.
The original R500 was a legend, with the old Rover K-series powered machine rewriting performance records for 0-60mph and 0-100-0mph times. This new variant has been equipped to supersede its predecessor by embracing the very latest in lightweight engineering techniques and technology.
The new car’s all-alloy 2.0 litre Ford Duratec engine is tuned by Caterham Powertrain. The relentless acceleration is transmitted through each ratio by either the standard 6-speed gearbox or the optional Caterham Motorsport engineered sequential transmission.
To help reign in such extreme performance, race-developed Avon CR500 tyres have been fitted and the suspension set-up includes weight saving aero wishbones and fully adjustable dampers.
Performance upgrades for the R500 aimed squarely at the track day market include a sequential transmission, launch control, a gulping Carbon Induction Airbox and Eibach Springs and dampers derived from the Caterham C400 race series.
The R500 isn’t just about big performance statistics though; refinements and Seven firsts feature throughout and help distinguish it from its stablemates. In true Colin Chapman spirit, engineers sought to add lightness to the chassis in order to improve the overall performance.
To shed a massive 9kg from the already featherlight chassis utilised by the R400, Caterham left no bolt unscrewed – more carbon and Kevlar feature than previously, thinner body panels have been utilised right through to aluminium rear light housings.
On sale immediately, the factory built Superlight R500 starts at £36,995.