The world’s most exclusive road and track car – the Caparo T1 – is to make its UK debut at the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed. A preview of the first Caparo T1 prototype will help showcase the company’s technological talents, preceding an attempt on the Goodwood hill climb in 2007.
The brainchild of ex-McLaren engineers, the Caparo T1 has the pedigree and qualifications necessary for a serious attempt up the famous 1-mile hill – but not before completing a rigorous 2006 test programme. Meanwhile, the first pre-production model, built purely as a show car, will tease the crowds as a static exhibit sitting menacingly in the supercar paddock throughout the weekend as it weighs up the opposition.
The world’s first production road car to exceed 1,000bhp-per-tonne promises an astonishing 0-60mph time of 2½ seconds and the closest experience yet to a Formula One race car on the track. Even when motionless the Caparo T1 looks the business; and with every cubic millimetre shaped solely by its functionality its performance should prove as dramatic as it looks.
"Our powertrain is comparable to an F1 car so we should give a good account of ourselves on the hill climb," said Graham Halstead engineering director Caparo Vehicle Technologies. "For reliability we restrict the rev limit of our 2.4-litre V8 engine to less than that of an F1 car, but have the benefit of it being supercharged which improves low end torque and driveability."
"A lot depends on tyre specification and mechanical grip; and whether the track is wet or dry," added design director and company co-founder Ben Scott-Geddes. "An English summer is notoriously unpredictable and Goodwood has suffered its share of torrential downpours as well as blisteringly hot weekends. Ultimately, track times come down to power-to-weight ratio and sheer dynamic performance."
More than 150,000 visitors are anticipated throughout the Goodwood motorsport weekend to see the Caparo T1 close-up, including many celebrities and VIPs from the world of motorsport. More than 300 journalists, 200 press photographers, 20 TV channels and 9 radio stations will cover the event worldwide. To accommodate the high level of media interest in the car the company will participate with its senior management team comprising Angad Paul, chief executive Caparo plc, Richard Butler, chief executive Caparo Vehicle Products, together with design director Ben Scott-Geddes, engineering director Graham Halstead and commercial director Sean Butcher, from Caparo Vehicle Technologies.
"For the automotive enthusiast the Caparo T1 is bound to impress in the most dramatic way possible," said Angad Paul, "but it’s also a technical demonstrator for us to reveal new and advanced technology to carmakers and their Tier 1 suppliers. The same approach to aerodynamics, choice of materials and efficient design, which has allowed us to develop the Caparo T1, can be applied in equal measure to create safe, affordable, fuel-efficient and lightweight family cars."
Caparo announced the T1 project earlier this year, defining an entirely new breed of road and track supercar that is lighter than a Caterham but with twice the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron. The eye-catching Caparo T1 was created to demonstrate the company’s technical know-how and competence in whole vehicle design. Running prototypes are now under construction for a 2006 test programme to confirm the vehicle’s robustness and reliability before it goes on sale.
Arguably the world’s most exciting car project since the McLaren F1, the spiritual successor to the iconic F1 supercar is a pure and undiluted high performance two-seater designed to give customers an affordable season on the track without major rebuilds or the King’s ransom costs of running an ex-Formula One car for the same experience. With deposits already being taken, the hand built car has been tentatively priced at £165,000 and is expected to be available to the first customers later this year.
"Goodwood’s celebration of a centenary of Grand Prix racing provides an ideal backdrop to showcase a car that will be the first to offer a driving experience close to the performance of a modern Formula One car," said Sean Butcher commercial director Caparo Vehicle Technologies.
The appearance of the Caparo T1 complements a spectacular line-up at Goodwood of Grand Prix cars from the past 100 years, including the Renault AK 90CV that won the first GP in 1906 right through to last season’s championship winner.
A century of technological advances have led to a tenfold increase in the power-to-weight ratio of modern F1 cars compared with the first generation of Grand Prix cars. The old GP cars developed around 105bhp in structures weighing not more than 1,000kg, the maximum permitted by the regulations of the day, compared with around 800bhp raced at 600kg for a modern F1 car.
By comparison the Caparo T1 is a mere featherweight delivering almost 500bhp with a vehicle mass of less than 500kg – lighter even than a fully ballasted F1 car in race condition. Both have V8 engines of 2.4 litres capacity the main difference being the restriction of the Caparo engine to 10,500rpm in the interests of reliability compared with around 20,000rpm from an F1 engine.
The Caparo T1 will be displayed throughout the Goodwood Festival of Speed weekend, which is proclaimed as the world’s biggest celebration of motorsport history. The show runs from Friday 7 July to Sunday 9 July.