The Caterham Superlight 400 - 210 bhp, 525 kg, US$48,000
By Mike Hanlon
April 18, 2006
April 19, 2006 Caterham has revealed details of its latest racing-bred road car, the Superlight R400. The heart of the minimalist sportscar is a new Cosworth-developed 2.0-litre powerplant that is mated, for the first time, to the legendary de Dion chassis. Delivering an explosive 210bhp at 7600rpm, the engine is pushing a car weighing just 525kg, offering a massive 400bhp per tonne for truly amazing performance. With near-telepathic steering, muscular power delivery, and epic cornering ability, the R400 is a superlative car for the keen driver and capable of effortlessly sprinting out of the blocks to 60mph in 3.8 seconds. The bonus is the price, which is cheaper than the previous model at UKP 29,495 (US$52,600) or you can build it yourself for UKP 26,995 (US$48,100)
The car is the first new model from Caterham following the introduction of state of the art chassis construction techniques, which have resulted in a substantial 14% increase in torsional rigidity. The increased stiffness translates to even greater real-world cornering performance and handling feel than before. This huge leap forward for Caterham has been unlocked through a switch to a new chassis supplier, Caged, who have invested heavily in sophisticated laser cutting and robot welding technology.
The new Superlight R400 is the successor to the hugely popular Rover K-Series engined R400, a car that not only enjoyed great success on the road, but also excelled on the circuit through Caterham’s R400 and Eurocup race series. Derived from the C400 race car, which will be setting alight the Caterham Superlight Challenge grids in 2006, the new model continues Caterhams’ long admired tradition of developing "a race car for the road". Such is the demand for the new R400 that Caterham has been taking orders for several months despite not having announced specification or pricing.
First in the queue to own the car is rock legend Chris Rea, a long standing Seven owner. "When I heard about plans to introduce a replacement for the old R400, I simply had to have one!" commented Rea. "The combination of Cosworth power and the Series 3 chassis delivers an adrenaline rush and a level of performance that I cannot resist." Sitting purposefully on bespoke Avon CR500 tyres and 15" wheels, the new model is also fitted as standard with dry sump, limited slip differential, carbon fibre front wings, composite bucket race seats, four-point harness and a composite wind deflector in lieu of a windscreen.
Caterham is taking orders now. Production begins in July.