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Caparo models, news & reviews
By Chris Chilton
30 August 2007 12:15
The body and chassis are carbon and the engine is a 3.5-litre V8 built from parts used in Infiniti’s Indy car engines. The original target had been 475bhp and 475kg but the finished car has 575bhp and weighs 550kg, giving it a power-to-weight ratio of over 1000bhp-per-tonne – an amazing figure given most supercars struggle to achieve half that. There aren’t any official performance figures yet, but reckon on 2.5sec to 60mph and under 5.0sec to 100mph. Forget the Veyron, you’d need something like the very best superbike to keep up with the T1 in a straight line. Chasing top speeds was never the aim but reckon on somewhere between 180-210mph depending on how much downforce the bodywork is configured to deliver. And this thing generates genuine downforce. Like 875kg (the weight of a Lotus Elise) at 150mph. So much so that when Cirtek racing first got their hands on a T1 the front wings were pushing straight down on to the tyres at speed. Cables running from the nose to each wing and much stiffer springs have solved the problem.
It’s easy to become blasé about speed in this job – we drive enough seriously quick cars that it’s rare to get in something that genuinely unsettles you. But that first taste of full throttle in second or third gear in the T1 is proper fairground stuff, the stuff that makes you feel genuinely terrified, even if only momentarily until your brain and body acclimatise to the spectacular g forces you’re subjected to. The V8 will rev to 10,500rpm and the real punch happens from the point that even Honda Type R engines are begging for mercy. Watch for the last of the shift lights to illuminate on the display set into the hub of the little suede wheel then pull back on the right-hand paddle (even the paddles are carbon) to engage the next of the six forward gears and scare yourself all over again. But the T1 is much more than simply a dragster. And the way it stops and goes round corners is just as impressive – and just as physically demanding. We drove the T1 on road tyres, but it may as well have been on slicks. Unless you’re a regular racer, no even if you’re a regular racer, you’ll need to recalibrate your conceptions of cornering speeds before attempting to take the T1 to the limit. You’ll need to be strong too. The steering is super-direct and full of feel but really weights up when you’re pushing through corners in fourth and fifth gears. It never feels likely to really bite though. Even though the braking power is incredible, a couple of times I get caught out by the speed I’m carrying up to a corner and enter on a whiff of trailing throttle: the back starts to step out but the long wheelbase seems to slow everything down and give you time to apply the right amount of lock and make a save.
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Caparo T1 (2007) CAR review
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