Ansar Ali speaks to Autocar about the new R500 and the company's future
11 April 2008

What’s new about the new R500?

"We wanted to enhance the R500 experience with electronics like keyless start, launch control and modern switchgear. There will be more of this in the future, but we’ll certainly stay true to our ethos of performance through light weight.”

Does that mean driver aids?

“No. We don’t have plans to introduce electronic driver aids like anti-lock brakes or traction control."

Is this the ultimate Caterham?

“The R500 is the ultimate incarnation of the series three chassis and the 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine. Our X330 concept car with the supercharged 2.3-litre Duratec shows a future direction.”

What about the CSR?

“We don’t think the R500 will cannibalise CSR sales because we believe each model appeals to different customers. For example, the CSR is more compliant on the road, with its multi-link suspension. It’s better for touring, in the loosest sense of the word!”

How’s Caterham doing?

“Caterham is in good health and we’re very upbeat. The R500 has already generated more interest than expected and we’re planning to bring our marketing into the 21st century to promote it. We’re looking at viral web campaigns, which would suit our niche brand.”

How important is motorsport to you?

“Motorsport and experience days are our strongest sales tools, and we’re hosting more internationally, as far afield as Singapore. We find that nine out of 10 people want a Caterham after they’ve been behind the wheel. Our 2009 Academy grid is over half full already, purely through word of mouth. We’re also planning more Academy series around Europe.” Read about the new Caterham R500 by clicking here.

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