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Caparo T1 (2009)

Published: 17 May 2007

More pics of the Caparo in action?

Yes indeed. We caught the Caparo T1 undergoing a full-bore shakedown at Snetterton circuit ahead of first customer deliveries due at the end of summer. The radical lightweight Caparo has ditched its supercharged 2.4-litre V8 engine in favour of a highly-strung naturally aspirated all-alloy V8 unit capable of developing up to 700bhp at a wailing 10,200rpm. That’s 200bhp per litre. Ben Scott-Geddes, Caparo operations director, wasn’t joking when he said the T1 would be an F1 car for the road. The road-legal T1 will pack enough punch to make a Ferrari Enzo feel like a Prius. And the project gained a boost this year with the announcement that Gordon Murray, the engineering genius behind the McLaren F1, has joined the T1’s development team.

So it’s going to be a bit quick then?

Extensive use of aerospace-specification aluminium honeycomb and carbonfibre for most of the T1’s chassis and two-seater cabin compartment means it will weigh less than 500kg, promising a barely believable power-to-weight ratio 1400bhp per tonne. The Bugatti Veyron, by comparison, manages a mere 506bhp per tonne. Caparo claims the T1 could have been made even lighter but there were fears further weight cuts would compromise the car’s ability to meet impact regulations. Like an F1 car, it drives the rear wheels through a close ratio sequential six-speed box, made from magnesium and carbonfibre. Expect the T1 to scorch to 60mph in 2.5seconds, 100mph in 5.0seconds and top out at 200mph. Even more startling are the T1’s braking times. With massive 355mm steel disc brakes at each wheel, it will bullet to 100mph and then brake to standstill in 8.5seconds.

But what about going round corners?

The Caparo’s wind-cheating shape – complete with sliding jet-fighter canopy – has been painstakingly wind-tunnel honed. With a ground effects diffuser as well as adjustable front and rear wings that suck it to the ground, the T1 can generate up to 3g of cornering force, almost three times that of hardcore road cars like the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Caparo plans to peg annual production around the 25 mark, with prices starting at £185,000 excluding taxes – that’s around £217,500 for what will undoubtedly be the most fiercesome car on the road. If you want to the see the T1 in action, grab some tickets to this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, where the T1 will racing up the hill all weekend.

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars