Lightweight Garage #31 Lightweight Minimalism @ Caterham Superlight R300

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Lightweight garage, News
Caterham 7 R300
©Brian Snelson, Catherham 7 R300,

The vehicle

Today we find a vehicle in the lightweight garage that consists only of necessary components. A 2.0-liter 175 hp Ford Duratec engine is also considered necessary in this case: necessary to achieve a power-to-weight ratio of 3.1 kg/hp and to allow the Caterham Superlight R300 to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds. The top speed is a modest 209 km/h. The unladen weight of the vehicle is 509 kg and was achieved with the help of a variety of lightweight construction measures. These are explained below at a high level.

The technology

On the one hand, the significant reduction in requirements contributed significantly to the low final weight of the vehicle. The Caterham R300 has no windshield, no roof and no windows, airbags or heating. Systems such as ABS, ESP or ASR were also not provided.

Secondly, the Caterham R300 uses standard lightweight materials. Glass-fiber reinforced plastics were used for the front nose and fenders. A fiber-reinforced wind deflector is also used instead of the windscreen.

Fiber-reinforced plastics are often used in lightweight constructions as they have very good specific mechanical properties. The fibers can absorb the loads that occur and are protected and supported by the surrounding matrix material. Fiber angles can be used to control the mechanical properties of the composite in different directions. This means that the components can be designed to withstand stresses without significantly influencing the design.

©Scott Barrett, Billy Nairn in his Caterham R300 at Gerard's Bend, Mallory Park

The lightweight aspect

The unladen weight of the Caterham Superlight R300 is 509 kg and is therefore below the minimum weight of a Formula 1 car, for example.