After getting teased and then leaked on, we officially have details on Caterham's new Superlight R500. The stats are as insane as we predicted, with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter Ford Durtec sending 263 hp and 177 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or a six-speed sequential gearbox equipped with launch control. With 520 hp per ton (it weighs 506 kg, or 1,116 pounds) the R500 can rocket to 60 in exactly 2.88 seconds, but that's only part of the performance equation.
Caterham fitted the R500 with a "Carbon Induction Airbox," Eibach springs and dampers pulled from the C400 Caterham racer, four-piston calipers in front and two-piston rotors out back, Avon C500 track-day rubber, and replaced many of the components with aluminum and carbon fiber to shed 9 kgs from the chassis. The R500 is also equipped with a new electronic IP nestled into a full carbon fiber dash. If you're in the UK and have £36,995 to spare, you could do worse for you next track-day excursion.
Make the jump for the full press release.
THE NEW CATERHAM R500 – HARDER, BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER
- 0-60mph in 2.88 seconds
- 2.0 litre Ford Duratec engine tuned to produce 263bhp
- All-new electronic dashboard including keyless ignition
- Optional upgrade sequential gearbox & launch control
For those really serious about their driving, the famous supercar-slaying R500 moniker is back with the arrival of the all-new Caterham Seven Superlight R500.
The latest model from the British sportscar manufacturer takes the minimalist, lightweight Seven philosophy to a new level with more power, sharper handling and for those venturing on track the option of launch control and the Caterham Motorsport engineered sequential gearbox.
Weighing just 506kg and producing 263bhp, R500 is the most potent race-tuned production Seven yet.
The Series 3 chassis flagship model blasts out 520bhp-per-tonne and is capable of propelling itself from 0-60mph in 2.88 seconds, delivering a pure adrenalin fix for those committed enough to strap themselves into the Kevlar race seats.
The original R500 was legendary, with the old Rover K-series powered machine rewriting performance records for 0-60mph and 0-100-0mph times. This new variant has been equipped to supersede its predecessor by embracing the very latest in lightweight engineering techniques and technology.
Lurking under the lightened bonnet is the all-alloy 2.0 litre Ford Duratec engine. Fed by its roller barrel throttle bodies, the normally aspirated, four-cylinder mill is tuned by Caterham Powertrain (CPT) to unleash a monster; 263bhp with a heaving 177 lb-ft of torque transmitted to the rear wheels. The relentless acceleration is transmitted through each ratio by either the standard 6-speed gearbox or the optional Caterham Motorsport engineered sequential transmission.
To help reign in such extreme performance are race-developed Avon CR500 tyres and a suspension set-up that includes weight saving aero wishbones and fully adjustable dampers. Bringing things ferociously to a halt are four-piston calipers clamping on vented discs at the front and lightweight twin piston rear calipers.
Performance upgrades for the R500 aimed squarely at the track day market include a sequential transmission, launch control, a gulping Carbon Induction Airbox and Eibach Springs and dampers derived from the Caterham C400 race series.
The R500 isn't just about big performance statistics though; refinements and Seven firsts feature throughout and help distinguish it from its stablemates.
In true Colin Chapman spirit, engineers sought to add lightness to the chassis in order to improve the overall performance.
To shed a massive 9kg from the already featherlight chassis utilised by the R400, Caterham left no bolt unscrewed - more carbon and Kevlar feature than previously, thinner body panels have been utilised right through to aluminium rear light housings.
Discreet exterior styling tweaks carried over from the flagship CSR models offer both form and function - the carbon winglets increasing downforce and the cat's tongue grill aiding cooling and aerodynamics. A carbon leather boot cover and clear rear lights are also new.
Housed within the revised chassis is keyless ignition, a quick-release Momo steering wheel with integrated indicator switches and an innovative dashboard featuring flush fitted switchgear, ACES sequential gear change lights and a new Stack display with scrolling text. The carbon dash is also finished with a detailed engraved plaque to show each car's number.
On sale immediately, the factory built Superlight R500 starts at £36,995,