Caterham released the 2008 Superlight R300 as an out-of-the-box racer. Because Caterham builds basically modern (not really) Lotus 7s, it’s no surprise that the R300 follows the maxim of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, "To add speed, add lightness." The basic Caterham doesn’t usually come with many creature comforts, but the Superlight series eliminates even more (such as wet weather equipment) to ’add lightness’. The R300 is powered by a 2.0-liter Ford-sourced Caterham Powertrain (CPT) Duratec engine that delivers 175bhp @ 7000 and a peak torque of 139 lbs-ft @ 6000. It makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 4.5 seconds and can hit a top speed of 140mph.

The Superlight R300 will go on sale in the U.K. in the spring of 2009 at a price of £24,995. No word yet on if it will make it to the U.S., but hopefully Caterham is keeping a closer eye on its American cousin with the launch of its North American website. Then again, we already have its bigger brother, the 263 hp Superlight R500 available in the States.

Press release after the jump.

Press release

Caterham’s famous ‘Superlight’ family is now complete with the British manufacturer releasing details of a new generation of its Superlight R300.

Following in the rear tire tracks of the motorsport derived R400 and R500, the latest Seven punches from 0-to-60mph in 4.5 seconds courtesy of a new 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine, tuned by Caterham Powertrain (CPT) to deliver a responsive 175bhp.

Originally launched in 2002 and fitted with a Rover engine, the previous R300 was Caterham’s best-selling Seven thanks to an addictive character fuelled by its perfect blend of performance and driving pleasure. The new Ford-powered model builds on this platform with increased engine performance and chassis developments, all whilst retaining the R300’s winning personality.

The latest 515kg interpretation of Colin Caapman’s famous ‘lightweight minimalist’ philosophy beautifully balances power and chassis to perfection, delivering an impressive 339bhp-per-tonne.

Among many developments, the new R300 benefits from styling cues and technical evolutions first seen on its ‘big brother’ – the explosive Superlight R500 – with the addition of a similar flush button dash design and keyless ignition system, fitted as standard.
 Amongst a wide range of optional extras, hardened enthusiasts will also be able to add Stack data logging instrumentation, a dry sump oil system and, for track-day regulars, a limited slip differential.

Translated through Caterham’s proven 6-speed gearbox, the 2.0-litre powerplant’s 175bhp and 139 lbs-ft of torque is able to spin the R300’s bespoke Avon CR500-shod Superlight aluminum wheels to a top speed of 140mph.

With more power, more torque and more immediacy, the Superlight R300 will start at £24,995 in component form and £27,995 factory built with delivery starting in spring 2009.

Further expanding the range to offer customers a wider range of choice is the addition of another new Seven – the Roadsport 175.

Despite being fitted with the hugely capable Series 3 chassis and utilising the same 175bhp, 2.0-litre Caterham Powertrain (CPT) Duratec engine fitted to the R300, the new Roadsport is aimed at drivers largely focused on B-Road blasts and touring.

The Roadsport trades its more track focussed features, such as lashings of carbon fibre and track-biased suspension and brakes, to come fitted with weather equipment and a heater as standard. Other differences to the R300 include a 5-speed gearbox with longer ratios and 14-inch alloy wheels.

The new Roadsport 175 model bolsters the incredibly popular Roadsport range alongside the 1600cc Ford Sigma driven 125 and 150 – numerically reflective of their respective power output.

Prices for the Roadsport 175 start at £21,995 in component form and £24,995 for factory built.

Both the R300 and Roadsport 175 are available in a SV ‘wide chassis’ version, costing an additional £1,750.

The Headline Numbers

Caterham Superlight R300 – from £24,995

Powerplant 2.0-litre Caterham Powertrain (CPT) Duratec
Max Power (bhp/rpm) 175bhp @ 7000rpm
Max Torque (lbs ft/rpm) 139 lbs-ft @ 6000rpm
Weight 515kg
0-60mph 4.5 seconds
Power-to-weight 339 bhp-per-tonne
Top Speed 140mph

Caterham Roadsport 175 – from £21,995

Engine 2.0-litre Caterham Powertrain (CPT) Duratec
Max Power (bhp/rpm) 175bhp @ 7000rpm
Max Torque (lbs ft/rpm) 139 lbs-ft @ 6000rpm
Weight 550kg
0-60mph 4.8 seconds
Power-to-weight 318 bhp-per-tonne
Top Speed 138mph

Caterham Superlight R300 Specification

Standard equipment

2.0-litre Caterham Powertrain (CPT) Duratec engine
6 Speed Caterham gearbox
Superlight Suspension (wide track front and de Dion rear with Watts linkages)
Carbon fibre dashboard
Carbon fibre aero whiskers
Carbon fibre front wings
Superlight switchgear
Ventilated front brake discs with Quad piston callipers
15” Superlight alloy wheels with Avon CR500 tyres
Composite wind deflector
Four-point Harnesses
Quick-release Momo Steering Wheel
Keyless ignition
Composite seats
Black pack

ACES change-up lights
Lowered floors
Limited Slip Differential
Dry sump oil system
Weather gear
Leather seats
Trackday roll bar
Carbon fibre nose cone
Carbon fibre rear wings
Data logging Stack Dash instrumentation
Track day roll bar
Battery Master Switch
Interim Catalyst bypass pipe*
Full roll cage
*Track use only

Close Ratio 6 Speed
1st: 2.69:1
2nd: 2.01:1
3rd: 1.59:1
4th: 1.32:1
5th: 1.13:1
6th 1.00:1
Final Drive: 3.62:1

Front: Adjustable double wishbone with roll bar
Rear: De Dion axle located by lower A-frame and Watts linkage

Twin circuit split front/rear with low level warning system. Discs front and rear

Rack and pinion, 1.93 turns lock to lock

Wheels and Tyres
Front 7J x 15”
Rear 7J x 15”
Superlight aluminium wheels with Avon CR500 tyres.

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