British track car specialist and Formula One constructor Caterham is branching out into the potentially lucrative world of mainstream sports cars, and plans to launch the first of its new generation of 'mainstream' models in the next couple of years.

The first of its new sports cars is being developed alongside a similar model from Renault, with the latter set to revive the French automaker’s Alpine performance brand.

The good news is that the Caterham will look considerably different to its Renault cousin, despite the two sharing much of their internals. The Caterham is expected to be the more performance-oriented of the two, while the Renault will be more comfortable and luxurious.

That doesn’t mean the Caterham will be as hardcore as the Lotus Seven-style track cars the company is famous for, but it should still be able to keep up with some serious performance contenders such as the Porsche Cayman. The Porsche is the car Caterham is believed to be targeting, both in terms of performance and price.

“We know we can’t just make a car for hardcore enthusiasts and we wouldn’t want to,” Caterham commercial director David Ridley recently revealed to Autocar. “Our new car will be aimed at a far wider audience yet dynamically will still be unmistakably a Caterham.”

The British magazine reports that the new sports car will feature a mid-engine design, a Renault-sourced four-cylinder engine, and offer the choice of six-speed manual or paddle-shift automatic transmissions. A supercharger has also been hinted at

Peak output is expected to more than 270 horsepower, which should be enough to propel the lightweight sports car from 0-60 mph in around 5.0 seconds.

If all goes to plan, Caterham hopes to sell around 25,000 examples over the car’s planned eight-year lifespan. Unfortunately, there’s been no mention if any of those cars will be reaching the U.S.