The Autosport International Show in Birmingham, UK, welcomed the world premiere of Caterham's first ever sports prototype racing car, the Caterham-Lola SP/300R. Created in partnership with legendary British racing and engineering brand Lola, the SP/300R is currently in the final stages of development and will be ready for a one-make championship in 2012, with the company planning to build up to 25 examples per year. Caterham said that a road-legal version of the sports car is also being considered.
The prototype model features the debut of Caterham's new supercharged version of the Ford 2.0-liter Duratec power plant, expected to produce around 300bhp. A Hewland-sourced paddle-shift sequential gearbox transfers power to the rear wheels.
Caterham said that the prototype weighs under 600kg [1,322 lbs] translating into 500bhp-per-tonne, and is capable of completing the 0-60mph [96 km/h] sprint in around 2.5 seconds, while reaching a top speed of around 170mph [273 km/h].
The SP/300R is built on a bespoke chassis designed by Lola. The basic chassis is an aluminium tub with a longitudinally mid-mounted engine, coupled to a stress-bearing rear transaxle. A forward splitter and large rear wing reduce lift, while a flat underbody maximizes ground effect benefits.
The prototype's bodywork also features an F1-style raised nose section and sectioned panels, which are said to help reduce repair costs, ease maintenance and more importantly, allow single-handed removal of body panels track-side.
The front and rear suspension are dual wishbones with pushrod dampers and adjustable ride height, with the design of the rear axle derived from that used at the rear end of the Lola Formula 3 and World Junior cars. The car rides on bespoke racing tires fitted to 13-inch race rims.
Prices for the Caterham-Lola SP/300.R will start at £60,000 [~US$94,300 or €72,200], excluding local taxes.