All the details of the fastest ever Caterham Seven
17 April 2008

Read Autocar's exclusive interview with Caterham boss, Ansar Ali. This is the incredible new Caterham Superlight R500, the fastest-ever iteration of the standard Seven, with a power-to-weight ratio of 520bhp per tonne and capable of 0-60mph in just 2.9sec. It’s powered by Ford’s lightweight, all-alloy, 2.0-litre Duratec engine, which delivers 263bhp and 177lb ft of torque to the rear wheels via a track-biased, sequential-shift transmission. Along with more power, there’s new technology on this latest Superlight. It now comes with keyless start, a redesigned digital dash with shift lights, and optional launch control. It’s fitted with race-developed, super-sticky Avon CR500 tyres, optional Eibach springs and dampers, and a carbonfibre Induction airbox derived from the C400 race series. Despite all of these track-focused extras and more modern high-end switchgear, Caterham’s engineers have managed to cut around 9kg from the Seven’s already featherweight chassis by using more aluminium, carbonfibre and Kevlar in the build process.The new R500 also gets exterior styling tweaks taken from the flagship CSR model, including carbon winglets designed to improve downforce. The R500 has just gone on sale, with prices starting from £36,995.

Will Powell

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Comments
12

11 April 2008

2.8 seconds, bloody hell. Only problem is unless you're on track with similar cars, *everything* is going to be holding you up! :)

Is it an automated sequential manual, or is it truly manual?

11 April 2008

How the hell did they get 263bhp from just 2.0 liters?

The article doesn't say if it has forced induction or not. That would be 131.5 bhp per liter, so it has got to have forced induction right?

11 April 2008

Honda gets 120bhp/l without forced induction with the S2000 engine, which is designed for production level reliability and durability (say 150,000 miles without major overhaul). Hence if you go for more of a track-day engine (say which lasts 50,000 miles) you can push components harder and get a higher rev limit - hence 130bhp/l is not too much as a stretch... Motorbike engines seem to hit 200bhp/l (CBR600), albeit with reduced durability and low rev driveability.

11 April 2008

Well if you remember Mitsibushi got 400 bhp from their evo 8 which was turbo charged. So the Caterham must be turbo charged, and i can't imagine would fantastic it would be to do 0-60mph in 2.8sec in that car.

11 April 2008

The comparison with motorbikes is a good one. The limiting factor for bikes seems to be how strong your forearms are to hang onto the scalded cat as it tales off. With this Caterham I suggest your 0-62mph time will depend on your kneck muscles!!

11 April 2008

Although the article isn;t explicit on this, I think we can take it that the car is normally aspirated (not turbocharged).

Caterham have never resorted to forced induction before, and have always favoured high revving normally aspirated units before. The old R500 extracted 250ish BHP from a 2 litre rover engine, so 260 from a more modern ford unit should be well within their grasp. Getting that kind of power from a 2 litre engine isn't actually that difficult provided you can get it to rev high enough.

11 April 2008

cosworth sell a normally aspirated 2.3 Duratec good for 200bhp, 230bhp, or 250bhp.

I humbly propose that another 10bhp wouldn't be too difficult.

11 April 2008

What's all the fuss over this engine producing in excess of 260bhp? This is easily achieved with modern technology, high lift cams, lightened fly wheels, imaginative ecu mapping, forged pistons etc.

This engine is definitely not turbo or supercharged.

Honda (and others) have been doing this for years!

11 April 2008

Though i agree that 260bhp+ seems quite a lot there are tuning firms around already getting over 300bhp (& 195lbs of torque!) from 2litre Duratecs. Fortunately they're not still using the K series...

11 April 2008

Formula 1 engines are N/A and make ~300bhp/litre! A 1.3 litre motorbike engine can make 200bhp. It's 'simply' a case of tuning the engine to give torque at high revs, and making sure everything doesn't fall apart. A wide bore, short stroke and large inlet valve area helps matters too.

The Caterham CSR 260 uses a 2.3 litre Duratec and makes 260bhp. The old K-series was in many ways a good, and advanced engine, capable of making a lot of power. It will be interesting to see if the Ford engines require similarly regular 'refreshing' to the tuned Rover units.

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