400 Reasons For An R

Caterham Superlight R400


British sportscar manufacturer, Caterham Cars, this month launches the Superlight R400 as part of the latest range for 2003.

The R400 is directly derived from last year’s class winning Nurburgring 24 Hours racecar and the hugely successful UK and European Superlight race championship. The new model sits just below the flagship and world record holding R500 to complete the Superlight R- prefixed range of road-track performance 7s.

With a pedigree firmly shaped on the racetracks and twisty B-roads of Britain and Europe since the late 1950s, the modern day Caterham matches blistering pace with pin-sharp handling and a driving experience like no other.

The R400 builds upon the 7s unique blend of minimalist race-bred technology to deliver a car weighing in at just 490kgs but capable of effortlessly sprinting out of the blocks to 60mph in 3.9 seconds.

Drawing on the reliable and free-revving MG supplied 1.8-litre X Power engine, the R400 boasts an explosive 200bhp (the equivalent of 400bhp per tonne) and 150lbs ft of torque at 5750 rpm, making it the ideal companion for the mushrooming road-track community.

Sitting innocuously on 15" bespoke Avon-shod alloys, the Superlight R400 comes complete with a unique stack instrumentation dashboard, Caterham composite bucket race seats, four-point race harness and wind deflector in lieu of a windscreen as standard. The full windscreen and weather equipment costs £855 as an option.

Hand-built at Caterham’s Dartford factory for £29,950, the Porsche-munching R400 - like all 7s - is also available in component form for those enthusiastic enough to self-build at £27,700 on the road.

Simon Nearn, managing director of Caterham Cars commented: "The R400 may be a road car, but it has a unique motor racing heritage. Devised, developed and honed during the heat of competition around the tracks of Europe in our race championship and proven beyond doubt at the gruelling 24 hour Nurburgring race last summer, this is a truly special high performance car."

The new model has been launched to coincide with the start of the inaugural 13 round Powertrain Caterham R400 Challenge this weekend at Donington Park (April 5/6).

Prices for the famous Caterham 7 start at £15,200 (factory build) for the entry-level 1.4-litre 105bhp Classic and includes the Roadsport (1.6-litre 115bhp and 1.8-litre in 140 or 160bhp), SV (1.6-litre 115bhp and 1.8-litre in 140 or 160bhp) and the Superlight triumvirate of the R300 (1.8-litre 160bhp), R400 and R500 (1.8-litre 230bhp).

Published 31 March 2003 Melanie Carter

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