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by Tim Beissmann

Caterham Cars has unleashed its quickest race car to date – the Caterham Seven Superlight R600 – ahead of the formation of an all-new racing series in 2013.

The Superlight R600 becomes the first forced-induction Seven from the iconic British manufacturer and promises to be the fastest and most extreme production car to leave the car maker’s Surrey factory.

A 205kW/271Nm supercharged 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine sits under the bonnet of the Caterham Seven Superlight R600, while a six-speed sequential transmission sends drive to the rear wheels. A Titan limited-slip differential and Avon radial slicks or wets come standard to improve traction and on-track performance.

While Caterham hasn’t revealed performance figures at this stage, the R600 will be quicker than its current benchmark, the naturally aspirated Superlight R500, which launches from 0-60mph (96.6km/h) in 2.88 seconds and goes on to hit a top speed of 238km/h.

Caterham says the R600 is a natural progression from its SP/300.R prototype, and will further extend the Caterham Motorsport ladder, which is currently topped by the R300 series.

The car maker’s expects at least 16 cars to line-up for the inaugural Superlight R600 Championship in 2013, with around 30 cars anticipated to line the grid the following year.

Caterham chief motorsport and technical officer, Simon Lambert, described the R600 as a real step up from the R300, and expects it to prove an exciting challenge for new and experienced drivers.

“The R600 represents an increase in aggressiveness,” Lambert said, “although the linear power delivery of the supercharged engine makes it superbly driveable, much like the R300.”

Fans of the Caterham Seven Superlight R600 can either purchase it for around £44,995 ($71,300) or, if they already own an R300, upgrade it to R600 specification for a reduced price.

Unfortunately for local fans, Caterham Cars Australia’s Chris van Wyk said it is unlikely the Superlight R600 will be available down under, and admitted he knew of no plans to produce a road-legal version of the R600 that would satisfy Australian regulations.

“If a road version becomes available, we would love to have it,” van Wyk said.

“It is unlikely though… The R500 uses the S3 chassis, as it seems does the R600. We need the SV chassis to meet Australian Design Rules.

“We also need a Euro 5 compliant engine, which may not be the case here.”

Caterham Cars Australia currently offers four models in Australia, the Roadsport SV120 and SV175, the Superlight SV R300 and the CSR 175, with prices ranging from $54,480 to $85,435 before on-road costs.

Read CarAdvice’s feature: Driving the Buttertubs Pass in a Caterham Roadsport 125.




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