Renault and Caterham bid for sports car glory

  • Alpine's 110 swept all before it in the rallying and on the track in the early 1970s.
  • Caterham's Supersport 3 is an evolution of Colin Chapman's 1950s Lotus 7.
  • Caterham has dipped its toe into F1 waters this year.
Date:5 November 2012

Renault – via its high-performance Alpine heritage – and Caterham Group are teaming up to design, develop and build future sports cars.

Construction will take place at the Alpine plant in Dieppe, Normandy, where Renault Sport versions of the French company’s cars are built. UK-based Caterham is best known for its evolution of the original Lotus 7 roadster, though this year it entered Formula One racing, having taken over the Lotus team.

The first cars are expected within three to four years.

For Renault chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn, the partnership embodies a longstanding ambition: “The creation of a sports car with the Alpine DNA.” Caterham Group Chairman Tan Sri Tony Fernandes was enthusiastic about the opportunity of creating “access to exciting, affordable products that marry our interests in F1 and technology”.

There’s a significant pedigree on both sides.

Founded in 1955 by pilot, businessman and automotive pioneer Jean Rédélé, Alpine started off with a vehicle based on rear-engined Renaults, first of which was a 4 CV. Alpine’s most successful model was the A110: World rally champion in 1973, winner of the Monte Carlo Rally in 1973 and 1974 and of the Le Mans 24-hour in 1978.

The Caterham goes back as far, to Colin Chapman’s 1950s Lotus 7 design. It’s still sold today, several evolutions later and is recognised as a sizzling – if spartanly equipped – performer. Caterham now is part of a group that specialises in cars, motorsport, technology and innovation.

 

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