The branding for the British sportscar manufacturer, Caterham Cars, will appear on Team Lotus F1 cars from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend. The move, which elevates Caterham into the pinnacle of world motorsport and provides a springboard for its cars to be marketed in new territories, comes 50 years after Innes Ireland gave Team Lotus its first Formula One victory in the United States Grand Prix.
Following its purchase by a holding company part-owned by Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, Caterham will be emblazoned on the sides of the two Team Lotus F1 cars, driven by Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli.
Caterham Cars was founded in the 1960s by Graham Nearn to act as a dealership for the Lotus Seven designed by Colin Chapman, who himself went into F1 in 1954.
Caterham acquired the rights to build the Seven in 1973. Over the years, the Seven has evolved into a supercar and the Caterham brand has developed as an iconic independent brand.
"This is a monumental occasion for Caterham Cars. We are a niche, low-volume sportscar manufacturer and yet we are now a key partner for a Formula One team with an extremely bright future," said Ansar Ali from Caterham Cars.
"The purchase of Caterham signaled an exciting new era for the company in terms of the continued development of the legendary Seven.
"But in terms of global visibility for Caterham, you don't get much better than Formula One."
The purchase of Caterham has already seen a rebranding of the Caterham Team AirAsia GP2 team, which is currently enjoying its first season in GP2. Caterham Team AirAsia shares the Team Lotus facilities in Hingham, UK and it provides an excellent stepping stone for drivers, engineers, mechanics and support staff to move into the top echelons of global motorsport.
As custodians of 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.
Caterham has nurtured the Seven design and made it a staple of the UK domestic racing scene, running a 'motorsport ladder' featuring six one-make championships, including the Academy, which has created around 850 new and aspiring racing drivers since its inception in 1995.