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Caterham boss Anser Ali recently confirmed during an interview with Car Magazine that the company has plans for an affordable sports car to go on sale by 2015 that will have at least three models, including a racing variant.
Ali confirmed to Car Magazine that they have financial backing to bring a second Caterham to market which will sit alongside the iconic Seven. The new model will feature fixed doors and a roof. They plan to offer at least a coupe and convertible variants with hopes of a third model choice.
The new model will be built from the ground up. “We’re starting from scratch in terms of the platform technology and powertrain,”Ali said. “We’re not trying to take the Seven and make it slightly bigger, slightly higher, slightly wider.”
Caterham is hoping this new model will help the automaker expand sales beyond 500 units per year. Ali hopes to achieve five times their current sales by appealing to customers in new markets. The U.S. in the cross hairs, but Caterham is counting mostly on Chinese consumers to boost their numbers.
Even though very few details about this new model were revealed, Caterham did say that it hopes the new model weighs less than 2,200 lbs. Engine details remain scarce, but Ford may be a candidate considering their engines are used in the Seven.
[Source: CAR Magazine]
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It’s the kind of outside-the-box thinking one might hope for with a brand launching into Formula One racing for the first time. Although the Lotus name has been around in F1 since 1958, there’s an important distinction: Team Lotus and Lotus weren’t exactly the same group.
The name disappeared from the sport between 1994 and 2010 when it came back under license to Tony Fernandes, an entrepreneur best known for turning once-failing Air Asia into a successful publicly listed company. For the upcoming year, Lotus will run under their own name, while Fernandes’ team will re-emerge as the Caterham F1 Team.
The Caterham CT01 car made the news last week after its photos leaked a day early onto the internet. We don’t have much information on the Lotus car yet, but we do know that 2007 Formula 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen will be at the wheel.
Watch the teaser below.
The first glimpse of what will probably be the new face of F1 race cars leaked into the media yesterday after some subscribers to British F1 Racing magazine got their issues in the mail a little early.
The February edition was intended to debut the new Caterham F1 car, dubbed the CT01, but it didn’t take long for the photo to leak after people got their copies.
This is Caterham’s first solo entry into F1 racing. For the past two years they ran under the Lotus name, but that isn’t what all the fuss is about. Instead the internet is abuzz with speculation that the hideously shaped nose prominently displayed in the photo will be a widespread feature in 2012 F1 cars thanks to new regulations concerning the nose area.
The Caterham team quickly realized that their images had been pilled across the web and promptly released a cleaner looking photo which you see below. They tweeted their plans to release more pictures today, which are available in the gallery below.
Along with the new pictures, the team tweeted a link to the full interview which answered our questions about the ugly new nose design. Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer for Caterham F1, confirmed that the new “stepped” nose exists to comply with new standards limiting nose height.
Otherwise the CT01 retained its former Renault Sport F1 engine and Red Bull Technology gearbox. Gascoyne also said the move to ban blown diffusers helped them catch up to other teams designs.
Tell us what you think of the car in the comments section below.
GALLERY: Caterham F1 CT01
Fans of Formula 1 racing and Lotus must have spent this year feeling a bit confused regarding who they should support, since there were two teams going by the name Lotus.
There was Team Lotus, a private team founded by Tony Fernandes (who also owns Caterham Cars), and then there was Group Lotus which was run by Lotus (the guys who make the cars) and their parent company Proton.
The two teams fought over the naming rights. Group Lotus said that the name Lotus belongs to them, while Team Lotus said that their name has always operated in motorsports as a separate entity to the road car business.
Who gets what naming rights was up to the courts to decide, and the verdict is in. Group Lotus is to keep the rights to the Lotus name in motorsports, which means they now own the rights to the Team Lotus name also.
In what is being described as a amicable settlement between the two parties, the former Team Lotus, which is also owned by 1 Malaysia Racing Team, will rename themselves as the Caterham F1 Team for the 2012 season.
Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said at the announcement that, “On behalf of Group Lotus and Proton, I would like to express how pleased we are that this matter is finally closed and we can now focus on looking forward to the future.”
The new deal will also lead to a working relationship between the two parties over future automotive projects.
Caterham, a company that started out life as a Lotus dealer, who got the manufacturing rights to the Lotus 7 and has been producing the car for over 30 years now, will now be its own force in Formula 1. Recognition of the Caterham brand will thus grow on a global scale.
There used to be a time when China was an “export-only” nation. But with China all the rage, foreign companies are making their way into this burgeoning market, and Caterham Cars is the latest entrant.
Caterham Cars has just signed an exclusive deal with Courtenay Trading International (CTI) as its exclusive importer. CTI will appoint six dealers in China, in some of its key provinces, and hopes to sell between 30 and 50 cars in its first year.
All of the current line of Caterham Seven’s will be offered, including the rapid Superlight R300 and the CSR 175. Models like the SP/300 R might be introduced at a later date.
On this occasion, Caterham Cars’ International Business Manager, David Ridley, said: “We are engaged in one of the most exciting new chapters in the Caterham Cars story and our entry into the Chinese market is another tangible sign of how Caterham is striving to become a truly global brand.”
While Caterham has been present in the Far East, namely Japan for quite a long time, this is the first time customers in China will be able to park one on their driveway. The first Sevens are scheduled to arrive in China in January 2012.
Last month, the private Formula 1 outfit Team Lotus acquired Caterham cars. Now comes news that Caterham will be looking to expand on their product portfolio, while keeping Colin Chapman’s vision of lightweight cars.
Caterham is best known for building and constantly improving on the old Lotus 7 design. The company earlier this year launched an all-new additional model called the SP300/R, which was the first new model launched by the company since their ill-received Caterham 21 went out of production.
New owner Tony Fernandes has plans for a new range of cars, with technology trickling down from their F1 division. Ansar Ali, the man responsible for running Caterham over the years, is still in charge of all operations and wants to see the principals of the company to stay upheld in the new products. He said; “We will be looking at expanding with Seven-esque cars. Anything we offer will be an affordable supercar with wide appeal that complements what we’ve already got.”
Team Lotus is still in court with Group Lotus over the legal use of the name, and a decision by F1 courts will be revealed in July. If Team Lotus is forced to give up the Lotus part of their name, they will likely rename themselves Team Caterham, which would bring global exposure to the British brand.
Looking to establish itself as being more Lotus than Lotus, Team Lotus Enterprise has announced the acquisition of Caterham Cars – the self proscribed custodians of Colin Chapman’s ultra-light Seven sports car.
In case you haven’t been following the Lotus soap opera as of late, Team Lotus is not Lotus Cars (the company that builds vehicles like the Elise and Exige). No, Team Lotus is a separate company, the former racing division of Lotus Cars, that purchased the name in order to compete in Formula 1. It is currently owned by partners Tony Fernandes, Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin.
The auto division (Lotus Cars) distanced itself from the F1 team and later announced its own return to the top tier of motorsports under the name Lotus-Renault.
This latest move is seen a evidence that Team Lotus is serious about competing with its rival of the same name, taking the battle from the track to the street. In a statement, Team Lotus has announced that the acquisition will bring a bright future for Caterham, with continued development of the Seven and investment in “exciting new models for the 21st Century.” Included in that list is the SP/300.R sports prototype racer.
Earlier this year, Team Lotus, (a private company) has been in legal battle with Group Lotus (the manufacturer of Lotus cars) over the rightful use of the company’s name. Since the case is still in court, Lotus essentially has two teams in Formula-One at the moment.
Now news comes that Team Lotus wants to tie itself more closely with the Lotus brand by acquiring Caterham cars. As all car enthusiasts know, Caterham bought the manufacturing rights to continue producing the old Lotus 7 back in 1973 and ever since has been developing newer and faster versions of this basic sportscar.
If Team Lotus actually acquires Caterham cars, it will bring an interesting new twist to this automotive soap opera. Rumor is, a press conference will be held next week regarding this matter. We can’t wait to see this story unravel.
Detroit is not the only city currently hosting a motor show. Birmingham in the U.K. is also hosting an event: the Autosport International Motor Show. This show, however, focuses more on track day toys, and hence that’s why Caterham has launched their latest track day special there.
Caterham’s first new car in 15-years (anyone remember the 21!) is called the SP/300R and it’s been jointly developed with Lola, a company that has a long history with producing race cars.
The Sp/300R features a supercharged version of Ford‘s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder Duratec motor, which in this application produces 300-hp. This mid-engined machine (a first for Caterham) sends power to the rear wheels via a six-speed paddle-shift gearbox. With a vehicle weight of just 1,210 lbs. you can imagine this to be rather quick, and it is. 0-60 mph takes just 2.5 seconds and top speed is in the 170-mph region.
So it’s a pretty serious performance car, but it’s not going to be a common sight. Caterham is currently only looking to produce 25 examples of this model per year, and all of these will be headed to a one-make racing series in the U.K. next year. It’s not cheap either as prices start at around $100,000.
You won’t be able to take your latest toy to the shops either, since it’s not street legal and currently there are no plans to do a road-going version of this model. Let’s hope they change their mind in the future.
See a video of the car after the jump:
What is even more surprising is the fact that their product line-up has been based around one single model, the 7, which is based on the Colin Chapman designed Lotus 7 from 1957.
Caterham Cars used to be a Lotus dealer, and bought the rights to reproduce the 7 back in 1973 and has since been producing faster, more refined versions of this one model.
So whenever news comes that Caterham is to introduce a new model, you can bet big money that it’ll be nothing more than just another variant of the 7. However, this time they are up to something completely new.
According to British car site Pistonheads.com, Caterham will launch an all-new car at the Autosport International Show on January 13, 2011.
This will be the first all new model to come out of Caterham since the short lived 21 model (see pic.) bowed out due to slow sales in the late 1990′s – only 48 ever got made. Hopefully they will get to make their new car in larger volume.
Caterham is staying tight lipped about the details of their new car, but they did mention that it will be powered by the next generation of their motorsport engine, and that the new car will be light and track focused. So unlike Lotus of late, Caterham plans to stick to its principals.
We can’t wait to see this new car from one of the most exciting car companies on the planet.
[Source: Pistonheads ]