The Caterham Superlight R600Enlarge Photo
In an interview with Autocar, the owner of Caterham Cars (and team principal of Caterham F1) even laid out a basic strategy, saying, “The ultimate ambition is to do what Porsche has done, and grow beyond being a sports car manufacturer into a mainstream car brand... There’s a long way to go, but we can see a day when we’d like to have a true halo car.”
Some would argue that a Caterham version of the Renault Alpine would give them just that, but we suspect Fernandes’ vision is more even ambitious. Caterham certainly has the means and the minds to develop a supercar at its disposal, since it’s already active in F1 chassis development and owns a composites manufacturing business.
Tony Fernandes is used to betting on long shots, too. After mortgaging his house and spending his life savings to buy struggling Malaysian airline Air Asia, he was able to reach break-even and erase the airline’s crippling debt within a year. Two year’s later, according to Wikipedia, the airline’s initial public offering was oversubscribed by 130-percent.
As if running an airline, and F1 team and a car company wasn’t enough, Fernandes is also behind a string of no-frills Tune Hotels and is the president of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Basketball League, which governs professional basketball teams throughout Southeast Asia.
Given that kind of energy and drive, we say it’s just a matter of when, not if, Fernandes realizes his vision of building a world-class supercar.