It's not everyday that we get excited about a car with 140 horsepower and 13-inch wheels. But then the Caterham Seven is no everyday car.
Lately, Caterham has been focusing outside the mold of the Seven with new models like the SP/300R and plans for further new products. But after a couple of years when the only new additions to the Seven range have been cosmetic specials like the Monaco and Lambretta editions, the British automaker has announced a new Supersport model.
Modestly powered but sprightly in weight, the Supersport roadster is based on the track model used in the eponymous spec racing series. Its 1.6-liter Ford four is tuned by Caterham to produce 140 horsepower – a far cry from the 500hp supercharged V8 in the Levante model – but with only 520 kg (1,146 pounds) to schlepp around, it'll do 0-60 in a tidy 4.9 seconds, and it probably feels even faster thanks to the classic low seating position that's practically on top of the rear wheels and open cockpit.
Short gearing, lightweight flywheel, limited-slip differential, race-spec springs and dampers, stiffer anti-roll bars, racing buckets with four-point harnesses and a dashboard with shift lights round out the package that's available as a DIY kit for £19,995 or factory-built for £22,995 in the UK – equivalent to $33k and $37k in U.S. dollars (including British taxes), respectively. Follow the jump for the full press release and check it out in our gallery below.
RAZOR SHARP SEVEN TAKES TO THE ROAD
Caterham Cars' first brand new addition to the world-renowned Seven range in two years – the Supersport – is one of the purest versions yet of the iconic British sportscar.
Derived directly from the race car that competes in the highly-successful Caterham Supersport championship, the road-going edition borrows all of the track version's performance essentials and then, for good measure, is fine-tuned for the road.
Priced £19,995 (incl tax) in self-build form, the 140bhp Supersport carries the DNA of Colin Chapman's 1950s concept of 'less is more' and remains true to his philosophy of lightweight, minimalist machines that place outstanding handling characteristics and the thrill of driving at their core.
A Caterham Motorsport-tuned 1.6-litre Ford Sigma engine, five-speed 'sprint' ratio gearing, lightweight flywheel and race-prepared suspension with CR500 Avon tyres on 13" wheels promise a raw and unadulterated driving experience – not for the faint-hearted but certainly for driving purists at home both on the road and on the track.
Weighing just 520kg, the Ford powerplant will propel the Supersport from 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds and will achieve a top speed of 120mph without breaking a sweat.
Equipped with a motorsport-honed limited-slip-differential and gearing with sports driving in mind, the Supersport also features uprated springs and dampers borrowed directly from its race car cousin, stiffer anti-roll bars, track biased dash with integrated change up lights and an aero screen. Composite race seats and a four-point race harness instead of standard seat belt complete the track-inspired experience.
Engineered for the track but at home on the road, the latest Seven packs an unrivalled punch for its price tag too. Factory-built, the Supersport will cost £22,995 with enthusiasts able to purchase in component form for £19,995.
The Supersport is unveiled just over two months after Caterham launched its extreme new sports racer, the SP/300.R to great acclaim at the Autosport International Show.
Caterham Cars engineering director, Mark Edwards, said: "The SP/300.R was our first brand new model for 15 years. But the Supersport is all about our roots. The Seven was born out of motorsport and this new model illustrates the values – accessibility, affordability and unadulterated fun – that have made Caterham the iconic brand it is today and which will ensure the Seven's continuing global success.
"We've built faster and more powerful accelerating cars before, but the Supersport's character, value and low running costs have generated a machine that will excite sportscar fans, including those on a budget."
The Caterham Supersport Championship represents the third rung of its 'motorsport ladder' and is Caterham's fastest-growing series. With 14 rounds over seven race weekends, the championship heads to the new Snetterton 300 circuit on 24-25th April.