What's the news?
The hectically-quick Caterham R500 Superlight has just been trumped by the introduction of the new Seven 620R that is due to be officially unveiled at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed. Designed to celebrate 40 years of the Seven - and built for people who need to be everywhere immediately - the 620R features an even more powerful engine as well as structural differences compared to the obviously sluggish R500.
Outside, there isn't anything radical to report. The instantly recognisable Seven shape remains unchanged; although new lightweight, 13-inch alloy wheels shod in Avon ZZR tyres have been fitted to keep the body off the ground.
Once again, like the exterior, nothing much here has changed. The absence of doors and a roof will certainly make for an unpleasant ride if the going gets rainy, but the carbon fibre race seats, Q/R race steering wheel and improved performance-focused dials will make up for it when blasting round a track. Carbon fibre panels and more ergonomic switchgear have also been fitted to improve the feel of the cabin; although sound-proofing, satellite navigation and a Bang & Olufsen sound system have still yet to make the options list...
This is where things get silly. The revised 2.0-litre supercharged Ford Duratec engine pumps out a more-than-healthy 310hp; catapulting the 620R from 0-62mph in just 2.8 seconds and onto a top speed of 155mph.
Keeping all this power on the road is... well, nothing. Yes, the nose has been reshaped for better aerodynamics, high-performance dampers have been fitted and a unique gunmetal chassis has been developed, but other than that it is simply left to you to keep the beast reined in.
A price tag of £49,995 might seem a little steep for a 40-year old track-toy, but considering the performance of the old R500 Superlight, the new model should certainly prove its worth against £100k+ supercars. To demonstrate its blistering performance, Caterham F1 Team driver Charles Pic will power the new model up the famous Goodwood Hill Climb course this weekend, closely followed by Caterham F1 Team reserve driver, Alexander Rossi. Visitors to the Goodwood Festival of Speed will also be able to get up close and personal with the new model as a static example will feature on the Caterham stand.
James Giddings - 10 Jul 2013
Order books for the 620R are open now, with first deliveries expected later this year.