You remember Caparo. Their breakout T1 model from 2008 was huge news for any car lover.
It takes the track-attack ethos of similar English charms like the Lotus 2-Eleven, Ariel Atom and others, then fast-forwards the technology by 100 years.
While the legendary 1950s-designed Lotus Seven continues forward with even more new Caterham models for 2014, it seems that the actual future of these race cars is in a rut.
A deep rut, followed by a speedbump in the road. Too low to pass over it, the Caparo T1 now appears to be stuck.
Here is a mini timeline of events that doomed the Caparo T1:
~2005/2006 – Revealed to select car magazines as prototype renders
~ 2007 – First “production” models begin high-performance testing for the first time
~ 2007 – Caparo T1 business purchased by Caparo Atlas Fastenings as a showpiece of new tech and materials construction
~ 2007/2008 – First car starts on fire while taping of television show Fifth Gear, burning Jason Plato’s neck with second-degree wounds
~ 2008 – TopGear‘s Jeremy Clarkson also breaks the car multiple times before even completing a few short laps
~ 2009 – RenaultSport and other partnerships
~ 2010 – On sale in UK for about the equivalent of $300,000
~ 2011-2014 No news besides a new T1 Extreme Competition rendering
~ Emails to Caparo bounce back, but website is still up
Perhaps a case of bad timing for the T1, as this design really had shock value and real appeal to its performance.
Alas, almost non-existent experience with road-car systems integration, durability testing, and road-legality doomed the firm.
Using a proprietary “F1-derived” V8 was also problematic, for these high-strung engines are never meant to last more than a few hundred hours of track time – total.
Another problem for the Caparo team is, in fact, the claims initially made about the T1’s performance topping the McLaren F1 and Bugatti Veyron.
It appears the Caparo V8 may have been running nitrous oxide, based on one of the close-up mechanical images of blue tubing.
As everyone knows, NOS is a very volatile racing companion.
Versus the second-hand Lotus Elise shells being converted by other vaporware firms, the Caparo T1 actually seems like a perfect fit for a giant battery back behind the driver.
Track testing with Evo Magazine
2010 Caparo T1 – Exterior Gallery
2010 Caparo T1 – Mechanical Gallery
2010 Caparo T1 – Interior Gallery
Official performance specs below.
Anatomy of the world’s fastest production car…
Advanced carbon technology composites
Ultra high performance
Front cockpit road aero screen, other options available for track use
Ground effect diffuser
Adjustable front twin element wing
Adjustable rear single element wing
Adjustable fowler flaps
Low drag body design
Range of wing options – road and track
Carbon fibre multi part body with tuneable aerodynamics
Designed in sections for easy repair
Carbon/glass and Nomex panel construction
Magnesium cased light weight high ratio steering rack
Bespoke quick release steering wheel
Dry sump tank 6 litres
Fuel tank 55 litres
2 seater carbon/aluminium honeycomb monocoque
Separate front composite crash structure
Rear tubular aerospace grade steel spaceframe
Streamline double wishbone front and rear
Tuneable front anti-roll bar
Five-way adjustable race dampers
Adjustable ride heights for road and track
Wheels & Tyres
Bespoke 10”x 18” Front and 11” x 19” Rear
Aluminium Road Wheels with P Zero Corsa 235/40
R18 Front, P Zero Corsa 295/30 R19 Rear road tyres
Magnesium 10” x 18” Front and 11” x 18” Rear track wheels with Pirelli Slick and Wet track tyres*
3496cc 32v 90˚ V8
Longitudinal, mid, rear wheel drive
Normally aspirated, fuel injected
575bhp @ 10,500rpm
420Nm (310lbft) at 9,000rpm
Central safety cell with high strength steel roll hoop
Composite front crash structure
Head protection system
4-point harness (6 point option available*) for driver and passenger compatible withHANS device
Fully tuneable engine ECU
Bespoke wiring aerospace grade loom
Multi-function race dash including data logging*
Speed sensors for traction and launch control
355m drilled/ventilated race discs front and rear
Fully floating discs
Front 6 pot billet machined Caparo AP Braking calipers
Rear 4 pot billet machined Caparo AP Braking calipers
Fully adjustable brake bias pedal box*
Various Track Pad compound options available*
355mm x 35mm Ceramic disc and pad option*
6 speed sequential
Bespoke magnesium with pneumatic gear shift system
Paddle shift gear change control
Limited slip differential
Equal length hollow tripodedriveshafts
Various gear and final drive ratios available*
Road legal SVA approved ** road version and full track versions available
Road and track parts fully interchangeable
Race screen standard with bib screen option*
or wet weather canopy*
550Kg (dry weight)
* Optional extra **Subject to customer request after sale
0-60mph / 0-96kmh
Under 2.5 seconds
(depending on tyre setup)
205mph / 329kmh (low downforce setup)
575bhp @ 10,500rpm
310lbft @ 9,000rpm
1075bhp per tonne
164bhp per litre