In 1957 the Formula One fraternity sniggered at John Cooper’s mid-engined T43, but when he started winning the laughing stopped and
by the end of 1959 the competition were designing mid-engined cars of their own.
What's it like?
Fast forward to 2006 and the Brooke Double R hopes to teach Caterham the same lesson. Both use the same 260bhp Cosworth-tuned 2.3-litre four, but it takes a single straight and full beans in second to demonstrate what Cooper knew back in the ’50s.
With the engine weight placed closer to the driven axle, the Brooke has better traction, and is capable of exploiting all 260bhp in any gear.
Looking like a Formula Ford – except with twice the power, twice the seats and a tax disc – the Double R gathers stares as if it were a Veyron.
There are no doors, a removable steering wheel, Stack
display unit and a stub gearlever mounted on the right-hand sill. For two it’s snug but comfortable, our main complaint being offset pedals.
The Double R is superbly rigid yet weighs only 550kg. For our drive, the adjustable double wishbone suspension had been stiffly set, with
practically no roll, yet the damping was sophisticated enough to minimise intrusions.