Caterham, the well-known British sports cars manufacturer, unveiled today its first ever sports prototype racing car, dubbed Caterham-Lola SP/300.R, at the 2011 Autosport International Show. The car was created in partnership with British engineering brand, Lola Cars and features Caterham’s new supercharged version of the Ford Duratec 2.0-liter power plant, expected to deliver around 300bhp.
According to the manufacturer, the car is in the final stages of development of the powertrain and handling characteristics of the car and promises to build only 25 units each year.
Thanks to the Duratec engine, the car, which has a total weight of sub-600 kg, is able to sprint from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in just 2.5 seconds and will have a top speed of around 170 mph or 273 km/h.
The car has a power-to-weight ratio of 500bhp-per-tonne, excluding the driver. Regarding the chassis, the new Caterham-Lola SP/300.R uses an aluminum tub with a longitudinally mid-mounted engine, coupled to a stress-bearing rear transaxle.
Moreover, the car comes with a forward splitter and large rear wing in order to 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 Caterham-Lola SP/300.R is priced at £60,000, excluding local taxes.
Caterham Seven has a great racing heritage which, when put in combination with the motorsport knowledge Caterham has, guarantees the company’s success upon its entry into sports prototype racing. Caterham has formed a partnership with Lola Cars, the world’s top manufacturer of custom made race cars.
The knowledge that Lola Cars possesses in the category of sports racing is useful when making and styling the chassis that shapes the SP/300R foundation. Lola Cars’ top-notch Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technology was used in designing SP/300R while Caterham offered their opinions and inputs.
This led to the fact that the SP/300R was designed with the goal of achieving exceptional aerodynamics, instead of just making it aesthetically outstanding. The basic chassis consists of an aluminum tub with an engine that is mid-mounted lengthwise and paired with a stress-bearing transaxle on the rear.
A big back wing and a forward splitter are capable of reducing lift while ground effect advantages are achieved with a flat underbody. An extensive aero platform creates ideal balance and downforce while dive-planes and ducts are used to additionally improve aerodynamic performance.
A raised nose area is also notable with the SP/300R, which is reminiscent of the F1 style; while sectioned panels decrease costs of repair, simplify the maintenance and allow the track side of body panels to be removed single-handedly.
Considering that the research conducted by Caterham discovered that majority of sports prototypes offered today need at least one person to assist when the body panels are removed, this is a feature that will be only seen on the SP/300R.
If you have a keen eye, you’ll observe that the SP/300R has several Caterham Seven signature features, one of which is the shape of the grille that is located below the raised nose.