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Caterham takes the lid off the AeroSeven Concept

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September 23, 2013

The Caterham AeroSeven Concept is the first Caterham with traction control

The Caterham AeroSeven Concept is the first Caterham with traction control

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The thing about Caterhams is that they’re wonderfully bonkers little cars that beg to be driven. Now the automotive company has taken its Seven CSR chassis and turned it into the Caterham AeroSeven Concept. Unveiled last week at the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, it uses technologies not found previously in a Caterham and is intended to give the public an idea of the design of future models.

The AeroSeven Concept is a remarkable design departure for Caterham, which has largely stuck to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" motto in the past. Where the carmaker had been content to make updates on the basic Lotus Seven design from the 1960s, the AeroSeven Concept has paradigm shift written all over it. However, like all Caterhams, it's still about strapping a lot of power to a very light car. No wonder the dash has a toggle switch under a red safety cover usually associated with missile launchers

In terms of style, the AeroSeven Concept looks as if someone had built a holster to tuck a Caterham Seven in, so it won't get scratched in your pocket. The lines are very sleek and simple, with dry pre-preg carbon fiber panels running fore and aft over an undershell, and the distinctive Caterham grille submerged into what looks like a carbon fiber maw ... a feature which gets a mixed response in the Gizmag camp.

The Caterham AeroSeven Concept uses carbon fiber panels

According to Caterham, the design of the AeroSeven Concept is based on Caterham F1 aerodynamic features and is intended not only to provide a new aesthetic, but also improved drag coefficient and downforce for better handling. Even the new rollover structure is designed to improve the aerodynamics.

Given there’s also no windscreen, you'll definitely need a pair of goggles when you take it for a spin at the Nurburgring, and be prepared to pick bugs out of your teeth afterward.

Under the large, flat panels is a CTI-developed 2-liter, 4-cylinder, normally-aspirated Ford Duratec punching 237bhp (176 kW) with 206 Nm (152 lb ft) of torque. That may not seem like much, but bear in mind that we're talking about a power-to-weight ratio of about 365 bhp/tonne. Caterham says that is is also considering the suitability of other engines for the AeroSeven Concept.

The dashboard has an interactive digital display

The transmission is a Caterham 6-speed manual gearbox pushing the power through the the rear wheels, giving an acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under four seconds.

The AeroSeven Concept marks the first time a Caterham has offered traction control. Developed for the Caterham Seven 485, the Caterham Engine Management System is controlled from the racing-style steering wheel, is fully variable, and has launch control. Settings include Road mode, Flash-to-Pass and Pit Lane Speed Limiter.

In addition, there’s an F1-style inboard pushrod double wishbone suspension and 4-piston caliper brakes with ventilated discs in the front, and full independent double wishbone suspension and sliding single piston caliper brakes with solid discs in the rear. Caterham says that it’s also considering using a Bosch “race-derived” anti-lock braking system.

The Caterham AeroSeven Concept does 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under four seconds

As to the interior, it’s as snug as you’d expect with lightweight racing seats featuring five-point harnesses. But the dash is positively futuristic for a Caterham. Where you'd usually see the most basic of gauges, there's a Graphical Display Unit (GDU) that’s fully interactive with real-time 3D rendered display. Otherwise it's still a pretty minimalist dashboard.

A production version of the AeroSeven Concept is in the works and will be manufactured at the Caterham Cars factory in Dartford, UK. How well this new style language will be received by Caterham purists remains to be seen when the AeroSeven Concept goes on sale in autumn 2014.

The video below outlines the design of the AeroSeven Concept.

Source: Caterham

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
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10 Comments

Pheooowweeee that's one breathed on Duratec!

I've seen what goes into a 240hp Duratec (RC) and must say they're a damn fine donk.

TC will go down a treat with the actual drivers of 7's and a bunch of moaning from non-drivers, lol.

It'll come as a on/off feature I'd imagine?

I think the looks may take a while to digest.

Cheers Szondy!

Craig Jennings
23rd September, 2013 @ 08:04 pm PDT

This is more of a boy racer I'm too poor to afford a Lambo but daddy has enough disposable income for something different kind of toy.

Not powerful enough to kill yourself with, but adequate for burnouts at the lights and the occasional acceleration past the girls.

The previous 620 was more appealing, especially with the roof up:

http://www.gizmag.com/caterham-seven-620-r/28215/

Subtle enough (if driven accordingly) to award you the nod of approval from passing pensioners and those in the know. But a vicious vomitron if pushed, with a tendency to get air on uneven country roads.

Nairda
23rd September, 2013 @ 09:07 pm PDT

I like it- a lot! Whilst I wouldn't want to write off the concept of larger, much heavier GT cars (just the thing for pan-European road trips involving weaving round the Alps), I really love the idea of very lightweight relatively low output high power/weight cars which can run rings around their larger and much more expensive brethren on tight and twisty roads (such as found in the UK).

I wouldn't want to be without a windscreen however- having a wasp 'reverse' into your face at high speed is likely to prove somewhat distracting on a tight and technical Cotswolds B road...

bergamot69
24th September, 2013 @ 05:34 am PDT

"If it ain't broke?" Caterham had the highest cd in the automotive world, and this one is still a very long way from slick. The roll bars look OK only by contrast to the usual disasters. It is dead simple to halve the drag of a round tube, and ten percent is quite possible.

Bob Stuart
24th September, 2013 @ 06:18 am PDT

In this day and age, on a car that has bleeding edge tech... Why would anyone use a plain, horrid red-shop rag to wipe down a car?

steveraxx
24th September, 2013 @ 01:37 pm PDT

Looks like two different teams worked on each end of it and weren't allowed to see each other's work until near the end.

That cockpit splitting bar would block the view of the video screen beneath it in the middle of the dash, except for very short drivers. Line of sight FAIL.

Gregg Eshelman
24th September, 2013 @ 04:07 pm PDT

Love it. The 7 was too antique looking, this one is perfect (if you put a windscreen on it).

Thor Gurzman
24th September, 2013 @ 04:08 pm PDT

How about a motorised Aero screen like on a BMW motorcycle to keep the bugs at bay.

John D Mc
24th September, 2013 @ 07:36 pm PDT

Looks? OK to my eyes. I'd love even a minimal screen though, just enough to deflect bugs or tossed up road-edge gravel. A driver's screen wiper might be nice to cheer up insurers, we all get caught by showers now and then. I agree about line-of-sight for the dash, perhaps make the forward half of that bar "lock in place' and have a downward bar joining the console for strength?

The Skud
24th September, 2013 @ 07:46 pm PDT

As a previous owner of an original Lotus 7, what I'd like to see is an electric powered version of the original Lotus 7 to be used around town, not on the track, although it would be a great autocross car...

Think low cost (< $20,000) for a FUN hyper-traffic toy!

CaptD
25th September, 2013 @ 03:38 pm PDT
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