Right now, Caterham, the British track-day carmaker, only makes, well, track cars. While this might be a fun business segment for automotive designers, it’s not a highly lucrative one.
That’s why Caterham has partnered with French automaker Renault to build a new road-going sports car. And it’s now headed to production for 2016.
For Renault’s half of the partnership, it’ll use the high-speed hellion to re-start its failed Alpine performance brand. Although designed side by side upon the same aluminum chassis, the two cars, unlike the Subaru BRZ and Toyota FR-S joint venture, won’t look the same.
In fact, Renault’s design chief Laurens van den Acker was quick to specify in an Autocar interview: “The two cars need to be clearly different. It needs to be not just a sports car, but also a car for aesthetes.”
Delightfully, not only will the looks be distinctive between the two, so will the steering traits, and handling characteristics.
As for power output, the Caterham will pump out somewhere between 250 to 300 horsepower, while Autocar reports that it’s still unclear how many ponies the Alpine will produce. Pegged at only 1,100 kg, the Caterham is likely to have a power-to-weight ratio of around 270 hp per ton, not unlike the Alfa Romeo 4C.
Caterham hopes to produce and sell as many as 3,000 units per year of the sports car presently referred to as the C120. Intriguingly, this would represent a 500-percent sales increase for the small British car firm.
Surely, the Alpine will not be offered in the U.S. The Caterham, however, just might make its way Stateside. Let’s hope.
As soon as we learn official information, we’ll be sure to bring it to you. Until then, let’s try to think of what silly name the cars might get. The Caterham Biscay? The Alpine A1102020?
Main photo: Autocar