Track-day SP/300.R special is just the start of the British firm’s range expansion, says boss

Caterham is poised to expand its line-up beyond the SP/300.R launched last month into new market segments, company boss Ansar Ali has hinted.

The British sports car maker has stayed close to the iconic Seven and its derivatives for its 38-year history, but the SP/300.R sports prototype marks a radical departure for the company and is just the start of a further expansion, Ali revealed to Autocar.

“The SP/300.R is a good stepping stone for us [from the Seven] and is another piece of the jigsaw,” he said. “But we have more pieces we want to develop. We see other brands moving out of other sectors and we’re onto it.”

Ali said it had always been his ambition to add to the Seven line-up with an all-new model when he took over in 2005. He said the time was now right for the launch of the 300bhp lightweight racer after a record year in 2010 for both sales and profits, with overseas sales particularly booming.

Despite Caterham’s imminent expansion, Ali said the Seven would always remain the core of the brand. “The Seven is iconic and is fundamental to the business, and it will remain so,” he said. “We don’t want to distract from it, but instead complement it with something at the top of the range that owners can progress to.”

Ali described the SP/300.R as the firm’s “halo car” that “will help us sell more Sevens in emerging markets”. He expects SP/300.R sales to be split 50/50 between the UK and overseas.

“The Seven and SP/300.R are actually very coherent,” said Ali. “There are customers in India and China who want to buy into the Caterham DNA and are just getting into track days but don’t get the Seven. SP/300.R is an introduction to the brand for them and we can help better communicate the Seven to them through it.”

Mark Tisshaw

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