- Written by webmin
We knew Lotus had something brewing with Caterham, but we figured it was going to mean escaping the Lotus Renault GP/Team Lotus fiasco with a Caterham-branded Team Lotus F1 car. And while that’s certainly still a possibility, instead news broke today that Team Lotus acquired Caterham Cars.
For those who might be confused, and that’s almost everyone, Team Lotus is not the carmaker. That’s Group Lotus, which is affiliated with Lotus Renault GP. Aside from the ongoing wrangling over the legal name, Team Lotus principal Tony Fernandez has long said he wanted to use the F1 team to launch into car building, but it was Caterham Cars Managing Director Ansar Ali who approached Fernandez in December 2010. Both are keeping quiet on future plans, but it’s worth noting that the Caterham SP/300.R was partially developed by Lola. Fernandez indicated the relationship will continue and possibly expand, and it’s hard not to imagine that the first non-7 Caterham is in already in development.
Whatever happens, it’s heartening to see two real enthusiasts like Ali and Fernandez get their heads together. Full press release after the jump.
Team Lotus Enterprise today announces that it has purchased British sportscar maker Caterham Cars.
The acquisition by Tony Fernandes, Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin, the men behind the Team Lotus Formula 1 squad, from the shareholder consortium led by Corven Ventures, will see the legendary lightweight sportscar manufacturer expand its brand profile and product family.
The acquisition of Caterham Cars by Team Lotus Enterprise will not only signal the continued development of the legendary Seven, but will provide Caterham with the platform to apply its philosophy of ‘adding lightness’ to exciting new models for the 21st Century.
This exciting new era for Caterham will be led by the company’s existing management team, headed up by Caterham Cars Managing Director Ansar Ali.
Ansar’s direction has been responsible for energising Caterham’s export prowess during the last five years, creating the iconic Superlight R500 – Top Gear’s Car of the Year for 2008 – and Caterham’s first brand new model in 15 years, the stunning SP/300.R sports prototype racer.
As custodians of Colin Chapman’s two-seater Seven since 1973, Caterham has been responsible for the evolution of a car originally conceived as a ‘fit for purpose’ race-car for the road in 1957.
Today, the Seven is arguably the benchmark for the perfect balance between power and intuitive, user-friendly handling, and in spite of its years remains one of the most raced cars in the world. It has also been the inspiration for the recently-launched Caterham-Lola SP/300.R for the race and track day community.
Tony Fernandes said: “Caterham has a unique place at the heart of the motoring world. As well as being proudly and staunchly British, it has an enviable and uniquely unblemished reputation within the industry for performance, handling and engineering excellence.
“Caterham Cars has remained wholly faithful to Colin Chapman’s philosophy of ‘less is more’, and the DNA of the original Seven can still be traced to the newest additions to Caterham’s product offering.
“It is already a successful business with sales across Europe, Japan, Australia and the Middle East, and under the guidance of the existing management team,we now have all the ingredients and the launch pad to further evolve that spirit and take Caterham to new exciting horizons with innovative products and greater global brand exposure.”
Caterham Cars, Managing Director, Ansar Ali, added: “This is yet another exciting chapter in the Caterham story. Until now, the resources Caterham has had at its disposal have, naturally, limited the exposure of the Caterham experience and the legendary Seven has had to rely almost entirely on its remarkable reputation and legacy.
“We will remain entirely true to the philosophy that we, as custodians of one man’s motoring concept, have protected for nearly 40 years.
“However, the acquisition of the company by Team Lotus Enterprise will allow our existing management team to take Caterham’s core spirit of pure driving enjoyment to a hitherto un-served audience.
“While the Seven will now have the global springboard it deserves and will continue to be evolved yet further, we also have the opportunity to expand the Caterham family beyond the Seven and SP/300.R and breathe new life into our uniquely respected brand and mature it into a truly global business.”