SO attractive has the collaboration between Huntingdon-based racing car maker Lola and Caterham Cars been that six were ordered on Thursday, the day the new racer was launched.
“These are not just expressions of interest,” Caterham’s sales and marketing director Andy Noble told The Hunts Post. “This is money in the bank.”
Lola Cars has spent the last year working closely at its St Peter’s Road factory to develop the SP/300R chassis and aerodynamic package.
In the first collaboration between the two iconic world-leading British firms, Lola has been engaged as a technical consultant, drawing up the chassis and aero package to a brief provided by Caterham.
Lola’s claim is to be the world’s leading manufacturer of customer racing cars. It has recently been particularly successful in the sports prototype racing categories, counting five LMP2 class wins at the Le Mans 24 Hours since 2000.
Caterham was a former Lotus dealer that bought the rights to the Lotus Seven in 1973, a year after production ceased in Norfolk, and has been manufacturing the Caterham 7 ever since.
The result of the new Lola collaboration – the Caterham-Lola SP/300R – is a racing car that, although a significant departure from the legendary Seven, remains true to Caterham’s key brand values of reliability, cost-effectiveness and simplicity, according to Lola’s Sam Smith.
Martin Birrane, executive chairman of Lola Group, said: “Lola is very pleased to be the design house of choice for Caterham. We have enjoyed working closely with the Caterham team to deliver the racing car.
“Our two British-based companies have a combined 89 years of experience in creating and delivering great cars,” he added.
Caterham Cars managing director, Ansar Ali, added: “Lola Cars was the only UK-based manufacturer that met all our criteria.
“It was important for us to create a car that is not just a logical extension of our existing product portfolio, but also one that has the potential to be as successful as the Seven, both in domestic and export markets.
“It was also important for us to build a car that, like the Seven, does not require an army of engineers to run and can instead be very cost-effective to race. Lola’s input here has been invaluable.”
The new car will be ready to compete in 2012 and will also become a ‘track-day’ car. “Later, we would like a road-going version,” Mr Noble said.