Caparo touts safety features of T1, mandatory driver's ed. for owners

The recent spate of negative press hampering the Caparo T1 hasn't stopped the makers of the clichéd "road-going racecar" from releasing a host of details outlining the finer points of the T1's safety systems.
While the press release after the jump goes into detail about the Caparo's lightweight, yet extremely rigid, carbon fiber composite tub and energy-absorbing snout, and regurgitates all the impressive details and stats surrounding the AP-sourced braking setup that hauls down the 1,256-pound street-legal F1 car from 100 mph in under three seconds, it's the last bit about driver training that caught our attention.

It seems that all owners of the Caparo T1 are required to attend a training course that allows them to experience the vehicle's dynamic pleasures on a closed track. If the T1 is to be driven on the street – something that's legal in the UK, but not highly advised – owners will embark on a separate course that gives them the ins and outs of driving a vehicle with such high limits on public roads.

Caparo is touting the T1 as "one of the world's safest ultra-performance vehicles," although we'd probably ask Jason Plato's opinion first if we had the means of acquiring one.

[Source: Caparo]


Caparo brings race-bred safety to the road

Safety systems and materials developed for Formula One make the Caparo T1 one of the world's safest ultra-performance vehicles. The world's fastest ever track-biased production car is constructed using an exceptionally strong carbon composite tub and an energy-absorbing carbon nosecone, giving extremely high levels of driver protection.

"Even though the T1 is exceptionally light at around 570kg depending on specification, the very high speeds it is capable of mean that conventional roadcar safety systems can not manage the extreme levels of kinetic energy that could be involved in a crash," explains vehicle co-designer Ben Scott-Geddes. "To solve this, we have incorporated many of the safety systems proven in Formula One, where drivers regularly walk away from horrific accidents that would be fatal in normal roadcars."

The two-seater T1 utilises extremely strong, lightweight carbon fibre composite for the monocoque (the body's central structure). The high-technology sandwich construction comprises a 13mm aluminium core with 2mm carbon composite skins using a carefully optimised mix of woven and uni-directional fibres. As well as using high-strength materials, the computer-optimised egg shape of the cell is inherently strong, giving it additional resistance to frontal impacts, and includes an integrated high-strength steel roll-protection hoop.

The nose box, body panels, wings and floor utilise a similar cored construction in a blend of optimised materials, working as an integrated system to provide the best combination of rigidity and energy absorption at any point during an impact. To eliminate joins, which could be a potential point of weakness, all the large components, including the monocoque (which acts as the safety cell) are moulded in one piece.

"Even in a lightweight car, the very high speeds make managing energy the biggest safety challenge," explains Scott-Geddes. "Although the strong safety cell provides excellent driver protection, without energy absorbing crumple zones similar to a road car, the physical demands of the sudden deceleration would be beyond the body's ability to cope. We have therefore used Caparo's expertise in high-strength materials to surround the safety cell with energy-absorbing carbon composite structures, such as the collapsible nose box, which are designed to deform in a controlled manner during impact. By increasing the time over which energy is dissipated, loads on the occupants bodies are considerably reduced."

Exceptional AP Braking technology

The Caparo AP Braking system utilised on the car provides awesome stopping power, bringing the vehicle to standstill from 100mph in under three seconds. The huge brake disks are 14 inch (35.6cm) diameter and 1.3 inch (3.3cm) thick front and rear, gripped by six pot (front) and four pot (back) callipers made from high-strength aerospace-grade aluminium billet. Several pad materials, chosen from Caparo AP Braking's extensive range, will be available to suit the customers' requirements.

"Whilst the T1 is intended primarily for the track, it can also be registered for road use, making it one of the safest high-performance road cars available," says Caparo Group CEO, Angad Paul. "We have chosen carefully from ultimate motorsport technology and from Caparo's range of advanced road car technologies to deliver a new type of vehicle that will excite and protect the driver and passenger in equally measure."

To further tailor the vehicle to their own requirements, owners can select additional safety systems from the T1's extensive options list. Items such as a fire system with external battery cut off, HANS device (Head And Neck Support) and FIA-approved Caparo-branded race suit are all available, giving owners additional peace of mind when running the car at high-performance track days.

Driver Training

As well as developing one of the safest cars available, Caparo helps to ensure that its customers are personally capable of driving the car to avoid an accident. "All owners are required to attend a training course that will help them enjoy the cars amazing performance safely. If their car is to be road-registered, we will also help them develop the skills needed to drive extreme performance vehicles on the road," says Caparo T1 marketing director Sean Butcher. Personal tuition is provided by Caparo's professional race driver Phil Bennett, allowing owners to develop very high levels of ability.

"Development of the T1 has been uncompromising, leading to stunning levels of performance," explains Angad Paul. "This is an exceptional car for highly-capable individuals who appreciate the very best performance, in everything from engineering and vehicle dynamics to their own ability to safely utilise the car's remarkable abilities."

Angad Paul is the chief executive officer of Caparo Group, a worldwide manufacturing company specialising principally in steel, aluminium and composite products for all industries. The group was founded in 1968 by Lord Paul and remains wholly owned by the Paul family.

The Caparo T1 has been developed by Caparo Vehicle Technologies, part of the Caparo Vehicle Products Division, a Division of the Caparo Group. Caparo Vehicle Technologies is a leading Automotive Technology company bringing advanced design, safety systems and lightweight structures into mainstream vehicle production.

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