Caterham inttroduces carbon fiber concept car

U.K.-based Caterham Cars has introduced the AeroSeven Concept, which features carbon fiber composites and Formula 1-inspired styling.

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Caterham Cars (Dartford, Kent, U.K.) unveiled on Sept. 20 the composites-intensive AeroSeven Concept car at the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix.

As the first model designed with significant input from all of the Caterham Group’s specialist business arms, the AeroSeven Concept signals the brand’s intentions in terms of product engineering processes, speed to market, as well as a hint to its styling direction for future models, including the all-new sportscar being developed in conjunction with Renault and due for release in early 2016.

The AeroSeven Concept, which draws heavily on methods used by the F1 team, will be the first ever Caterham model to be fitted with traction control. Thanks to a newly developed Caterham Engine Management System, drivers will be able to enjoy fully-adjustable traction and launch control functionality.

Based on an updated interpretation of the highly acclaimed Seven CSR platform, the carbon fiber-bodied concept vehicle, which will reach 100 kph/62.5 mph in less than 4 seconds, will initially draw its power from the normally-aspirated, EU6-approved, 240 ps (237 bhp) engine developed by Caterham Technology & Innovation for the recently launched Caterham Seven 485. Other engines are also being assessed for suitability.

Graham Macdonald, managing director of Caterham Cars, says, “Over the coming years, we will be expanding our range of sportscars as we look to meet the differing needs and desires of potential customers – from the lifestyle customer to the ultimate thrill-seeker. The AeroSeven Concept is the first model in that journey.” Delivery of the production version of the concept model will begin in autumn 2014.

Using inputs from Caterham F1 Team performance director, John Iley, and the CTI design team, the fundamental shape of the car was created. Ongoing optimization continues to take place using computational fluid dynamics expertise from the F1 aerodynamic group, in conjunction with circuit and wind tunnel testing.

The AeroSeven Concept incorporates a completely new rollover structure, to aid safety and improve aerodynamic performance and enhance aesthetics.

The car’s default setting is "Race" mode, the reverse of even the most track orientated vehicles. When the steering wheel-mounted button is depressed, "Road" mode is engaged, altering the engine’s character by reducing peak power through a reduced rev limit.

The manufacture and tooling of components for the AeroSeven Concept will be split between Caterham Technology & Innovation in Hingham, Norfolk and Leafield, Oxon, U.K., Caterham F1 Team’s base. Production models will be constructed at the Caterham Cars factory in Dartford, U.K.