British sports-car outfit Caterham is launching both a new Seven race car with a forced-induction engine, and a one-make racing series in which the car can compete next year. The Caterham R600 racer offers 275 hp in the company’s familiar lightweight, stripped-out Seven chassis.
The engine in question is a supercharged 2.0-liter Ford inline-four, rated for 275 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed sequential transmission sends power to the rear wheels by way of a limited-slip differential. The company claims the R600 will be much faster and “more aggressive” than existing Caterham models, but promises that “the linear power delivery of the supercharged engine makes it superbly drivable.”
With an expected curb weight of around 1200 pounds, the R600 should be extremely fast, thanks to a power-to-weight ratio of just 4.36 pounds per horsepower. A Chevrolet Corvette Z06, by contrast, has a ratio of 6.33 pounds per horsepower.
The R600 is designed for competition in a one-make Caterham series called the Superlight R600 Championship. Next year, Caterham expects a grid of 16 cars to compete in the debut season of the championship, with the ranks growing to about 30 cars by 2014.
Buying the Caterham R600 costs £44,995 (about $73,000). Owners of Caterham’s prior top-spec Seven race car, the R300, can also pay an undisclosed amount to have their vehicle upgraded with the new powertrain so that it’s eligible for the aforementioned racing series.