Both Caterham and Lotus lay claim to the iconic Seven, that bare-bones, less-is-more ugly duckling of a sportscar loved by purists around the world. Both British automakers also produce what can best be described as racing cars for the road. Both have F1 teams to call their own, both have GP2 feeder teams, both operate one-make sportscar racing series for its most enthusiastic customers, and now both are gearing up to field their own karting teams as well.
Lotus announced its karting program just a few months ago, and now Caterham has followed suit. The team's karts will be designed and developed in-house (presumably with some input from an experienced kart producer), and will be fielded from 2013.
Unlike the Lotus effort, however, which will field karts in established series, the Caterham karts will be used in a new dedicated one-make championship, giving aspiring racing drivers a clear channel to advance through the ranks all the way up to Formula One entirely with Lotus. Er, we mean Caterham.
Caterham Cars today reveals plans to add to its well-established motorsport operation, with new ambitions in the karting category.
Thanks to the new Caterham F1 Team and Caterham Racing GP2 squad, the famous British sportscar maker has already made radical extensions to its successful Seven racing formulae.
Now, the introduction of a Caterham Motorsport-run karting championship in 2013, with Caterham's own designed and developed kart, will provide young drivers with the opportunity to take their first steps in a career in which it will be possible to progress from grassroots racing to the pinnacle of global motorsport.
The organisation of Caterham karting will benefit from the firm's 26 years of experience in running low-cost, high-value one-make race championships.
Caterham Motorsport Manager, Simon Lambert, said: "We've built a strong reputation for providing terrific value for money in motorsport through great cars and a playing field so even you could put a spirit level on it.
"Now we'd like to use this wealth of knowledge and expertise in karting by establishing a cost-effective series that will combine fun, technology and great competition elements that we think are beginning to be overlooked in kart racing.
"With progression possible through the Caterham 'ladder' right through to F1, Caterham karting will appeal to those looking to make a career in motorsport but, more importantly, our aim is to target the mass-market of parents and youngsters who would like to race in a competitive and yet affordable karting series which, until now, might have been an unachievable dream. Caterham is determined to make motorsport accessible to everyone."
Caterham Motorsport established its first one-make championship for the legendary Seven in 1986 and now its UK operation alone features five fully-subscribed series, including the renowned Academy, which is unique in having created almost 1,000 brand new racing drivers since its inception in 1995.
Last year, the Company also unveiled its first sports prototype racer, the SP/300.R, designed to provide an extension for members of the Seven racing fraternity who wish to progress into higher-level sportscar competition. The SP/300.R will star in its own one-make championship starting next season.
More details about the kart series will be revealed in due course throughout 2012.
Please visit http://www.caterham.co.uk or call 01883 333 700 for more information.