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Team Lotus Buys Caterham Cars - Web Exclusive

In a surprise move that could rub further salt into the open wounds with Lotus Cars, it has been announced that Team Lotus Enterprise has purchased British sportscar maker Caterham Cars.

May 4, 2011

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 lightweight sportscar manufacturer expand its brand profile and product family.

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The acquisition of Caterham Cars by Team Lotus Enterprise will not only signal the continued development of the legendary Seven model, but will provide Caterham with the platform to apply its philosophy of ‘adding lightness’ to exciting new models for the 21st Century.

This new era for Caterham will be led by the company’s existing management team, headed by Caterham Cars Managing Director, Ansar Ali.

Ansar’s direction has been responsible for energizing Caterham’s export growth during the last five years, creating the iconic Superlight R500 and the SP/300.R sports prototype racer – Caterham’s first new model in 15 years.

The two-seater Seven was first designed by Colin Chapman for Lotus, but its manufacturer was passed to Caterham in 1973. Ever since, the company 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 a benchmark for the balance between power and intuitive, handling. And, in spite of its years, remains one of the most raced cars in the world. It also inspired 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 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.

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“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.”

To celebrate its new ownership, Caterham will build a limited run of Team Lotus Special Edition Sevens. Just 25 of the Team Lotus upgrade packages, which can be applied to any variant up to the top-of-the-range 263bhp, 150mph Superlight R500, will be built for the UK, with the same number allocated to export markets. For an additional $5000 over the price of your chosen car, the Seven will be liveried in the famous green and yellow colors of Lotus, and will come with a raft of bespoke Team Lotus additions.

The theme continues in the cockpit, with a plaque carrying the signatures of Team Lotus F1 drivers, Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen. Owners will also receive a history book of the Seven signed by chief designer, Mike Gascoyne. Included in the upgrade package will be an invitation to tour the Team Lotus F1 factory in Hingham, Norfolk.

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