The ’500′ in the name Caterham R500 refers to the bhp-per-ton, except it’s wrong. The Caterham R500 specs has 520 brake horsepower per ton which is generated from a Ford 2.0 liter Duratec engine – so it will be hardy and reasonably free to rev. It will probably take you longer to read this than it will for the Caterham R500 to get to 60mph. The reason being that with 263bhp and 177lb/ft of torque, you’ll be going 62mph in about 2.88 seconds. Let’s put that in perspective.
It’s faster than a lot of motorbikes and is only one-third of a second behind the Bugatti Veyron. Yes, it’s only slightly slower from the standing start than the car that was, for a time, fastest in the world. That came with the benefit of many electronic controls and four wheel drives too, unlike Caterham R500 effort. The Caterham R500 puts the power through a six speed manual gearbox (none of this fancy e-gearing or steering wheel pedal nonsense) straight to the rear wheels and the 13-inch lightweight Caterham alloys.
Now there’s a new Caterham R500. Weighing in at just over 1,115 lbs, the latest kidney-punisher from Caterham R500 features all sorts of goodies that set it apart from the more brutal CSR. Chief among them is sweet 263 HP Duratec mill and the all electronic gee-whiz dash and keyless start. Also tossed in for good measure are thinner body panels, Kevlar seats, and that new six-speed sequential shifter. Bigger news is that for the first time Caterham R500 will be offering a sequential six-speed dog ’box on the options list.
The old Caterham R500 produced its power as a consequence of pretty extreme tuning, resulting in a narrow power band that needed at least 5000rpm before delivering its best. This new version makes no such demands. At 60mph in sixth gear, roughly 3000rpm, the Caterham R500 pulls cleanly, progressively and rapidly. In a way, this low-end response; if it’s this quick in sixth, what will it do in second? The answer, Caterham R500 top gear reckons, is 0-60mph in 2.88sec. It seems inconceivable, but the Caterham R500 has just got even more hardcore.
So you’re probably wondering what the secret is behind the Caterham R500? Well, it’s all down to the weight. A real focus has taken place at the factory for the Caterham R500 – putting it on an athlete’s diet. As such, it comes with carbon-fiber fro the nose, dash and wings, as well as thinner body panels, wishbones and aluminium housings. All this means a further 9kg from the kerb-weight. Of course, you need to be able to stop well too, so you’ve got four piston calipers grabbing vented discs at the front and twin piston calipers at the back of the Caterham R500– so even more weight is saved.
Granted, the carbon fiber gear stick, instrument panel and keyless ignition. However, you won’t be seeing many toys in here – this Caterham R500 is after all a proper racecar to tan the hides of such young upstarts as the Ariel Atom. So what we’re looking at here is a car with no windscreen, no doors and a power-to-weight ratio of 520bhp per ton. Even with this less than slender driver installed, that’s 451bhp per ton. Admittedly it’s is a lot to pay for a Caterham R500 for sale without a roof, but the new Caterham R500 price is just £3005 more than the old R500, eight years on.
Competitors for Caterham R500: Pagani Zonda F, Maserati MC12, Ferrari Enzo and Porsche Carrera GT.
Caterham R500 Photos
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