Caterham Cars will expand its sports car model line-up beyond its core Seven range following its acquisition by Formula 1 outfit Team Lotus.
Plans by Team Lotus Enterprise, the Tony Fernandes-led holding company that now owns both Team Lotus and Caterham, include taking Caterham’s existing Seven and SP.300/R models to new markets, prominent F1 exposure for Caterham, and Team Lotus F1 technology filtering down to Caterham’s road cars.
Fernandes confirmed that there “will be new models” from Caterham. “We’ve got lots of ideas that will be implemented in time,” he said. “Our actions will speak and there’s lots to look forward to.”
Caterham’s existing management, led by Ansar Ali, will stay on under Fernandes’s ownership. Ali said the firm had “ambitious aspirations to expand the portfolio consistent with the Caterham formula”.
He added: “We will be looking at expanding with Seven-esque cars. Anything we offer will be an affordable supercar with wide appeal that complements what we’ve already got.”
The SP.300/R sports prototype will be launched this summer as the first non-Seven Caterham since the Lotus Elise-style 21 roadster of the 1990s.
Ali wouldn’t go into details of what the new models were. But he insisted that the Seven will always be the core of the business and any new model would have to be consistent with Colin Chapman’s lightweight, ‘less is more’ philosophy.
The deal is likely to lead to prominent exposure for Caterham on the Team Lotus T128 F1 car, although nothing is expected before the British Grand Prix in July. Fernandes said a “full branding and platform for Caterham in F1” was in place.
“Caterham now has a huge marketing platform,” he said. “F1 is out of reach for most people, but we can filter F1 technology back down to Caterham and offer people an affordable sports car with F1 links.”