What is it?
On paper it’s the brain child of ex-McLaren employees Ben Scott Geddes and Graham Halstead, who have recently been joined in their quest by none other than Gordon Murray himself (he who created the McLaren F1 road car).
In reality it’s also the fastest accelerating road car in history, and therefore the only car to find yourself in, sitting next to a Bugatti Veyron, waiting for the traffic lights to go green.
That's right: 'it' can only be the awesome 1075bhp-per-tonne Caparo T1. And this is the first place in the world where you can reliably find out what it's like to drive
Tell me more…
The T1's headline figures are all just about unprecedented for a road car, which is kind of what you’d expect given the team of people that has created it.
The chassis-tub is made entirely from carbonfibre and the suspension, brakes, steering, engine and gearbox all bear an uncanny resemblance to the sort of items you’d find on a cutting edge single seater racing car.
Except, of course, the T1 isn’t a single seater, it’s a one plus three quarters (fat blokes – or birds – might well be able to squeeze themselves into the second seat but, without disassembling the car around them, that’s where they’ll stay for the rest of their lives).
The engine was meant to be a 2.4-litre V8 with 430bhp, but as the car evolved the engine grew to become a 3.5-litre V8 that’s essentially a mildly detuned Indycar engine with 575bhp at 10,500rpm and “around” 310lb ft of torque.
All up, the car we drove – one of just two pre-production models in existence – weighed just 535kg, giving a power-to-weight ratio well beyond the magic (and planned from the very beginning) 1000bhp per tonne. A 2007 F1 car has no more than 1350bhp per tonne, just in case you wondered.
The gearbox is a six-speed paddle shift manual, and although it features new software that makes it smoother for road use, again this is very much an established competition item, similar to the straight cut Hewland ‘box used in Indycar racing.
What’ll it do then? We haven’t yet strapped our timing gear to the car, but Caparo says the T1 will get to 60mph in 2.5sec, 100mph in less than five seconds and do 0-100-0mph in a quite staggering 7.2sec (we timed the Veyron at a piffling 9.9sec for 0-100-0mph).
Top speed is limited by the aero package and on the car we drove was somewhere around 190mph, but if a customer wants a low drag car that’ll do over 200mph that won’t be a problem, sir. Oh yes, and the price is £190,000 plus local taxes, so call it £211,000 in the UK.
What’s it like?
In a word or three, absolutely un-flipping-believable. At a stroke it makes other track day specials such as the Lotus 2-Eleven feel like they are stuck in first gear.
To begin with the acceleration is so massive it borders on being uncomfortable. I’ve driven a Jaguar R3 F1 car that had one of the sport's older, more powerful V10 engines, and I’m not joking when I say the T1 isn’t a million miles away on raw acceleration. And it has phenomenal traction to go with it, despite the test car having no form of traction control beyond your brain and your right foot (a full TC system will be made available on production cars).