We are just a few days away from the kickoff of the 2014 Formula One season with the Australian Grand Prix, and among all of the shakeups with cars, engines and drivers, Kamui Kobayashi is back in the sport. This year, the Japanese pilot has found a seat at Caterham after taking a year out of F1 for a stint in in the FIA World Endurance Championship. He's starting off his new role in a video showing company's latest, most powerful creation – the Seven 620 R.
All modern Caterhams are based on the Lotus Seven – a small, lightweight roadster developed by Colin Chapman back in 1957. That car has evolved into an entire range of models, spanning from the new, affordable 160, shown below in the latest video from XCAR, to the maniacal 620R.
Sort of like an automotive big box store, Superformance is rapidly becoming the destination for anyone interested in modern kit cars. Besides the normal spattering of Shelby Cobra replicars, Superformance also offers replicas of the GT40 and Corvette Grand Sport. Now, we can add an altogether different type of DIY car to the company's portfolio - Caterham.
Caterham's fastest car used to be the R500 Superlight. The new fastest car from the UK-based company is the Seven 620R. Where the R500 uses a 263-horsepower, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, the 620R straps a supercharger onto the Ford mill, for a total of 310 horsepower and 219 pound-feet of torque. At only 1,200 pounds, that's a huge amount of thrust, and will scoot the blown Seven to 60 miles per hour in around 2.8 seconds. In short, this car, which is built in a small town in Surrey, will hit 60 in
Occasionally we learn about a new car manufacturer starting up in Mexico, but usually the country's most significant involvement in the auto industry is relegated to building vehicles and parts for other auto companies. RON Automóviles de México hopes to change that with its new line of sports cars. The flagship model, the RXX, resembles an Ariel Atom with bodywork, while the R7 was inspired by the Lotus 7.
With apologies to The Beatles, it was 40 years ago today (well, sort of...) that Caterham taught the Seven to play. The car as you're likely aware, is a direct descendant of the quintessential Lotus of the same name. As befitting an anniversary year, Caterham has decided to up the Seven's ante by plopping a 2.0-liter Ford Duratec into the engine bay, fortified by a supercharger to deliver 310 horsepower to the rear wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox.
The Bowler EXR S is a purpose-built SUV based on Land Rover bones with a 550-horsepower supercharged V8 designed to tackle off-road rallying events like the Paris-Dakar. The Caterham Seven Supersport is a feather-light track day weapon, purposely created to out-hustle just about anything on a winding race circuit. If asked to pick one of the as the fastest around a handling circuit in the UK, the smart money is clearly on the racing Caterham. Right?
Colin Chapman's legacy is a great one, without a doubt. But Lotus – the automaker and engineering firm he founded – isn't the only one wielding it these days. So, too, do a number of manufacturers that build "continuation" versions of the famed Lotus 7, chief among them Caterham. And so does Team Lotus.