Weighing it at just 506 kilograms—or about 1,117 pounds—the 263-horsepower Superlight R500 slingshots to 60 mph in just 2.88 seconds thanks to its upgraded 2.0-liter Duratec four-cylinder engine. That quick rear-drive acceleration is aided by six-speed sequential gearbox, all wrapped in the iconic Lotus 7-derived chassis.
Superseded in the Caterham range only by the 620R, itself a 311-horspeower, 2.79-second 0-60 mph Seven-beast, the Superlight R500 remains one of the pinnacles of mortal-attainable, street-drivable racing cars.
The final example, bearing chassis number 174, was finished July 7 and is headed for Caterham’s distributor in Peru.
As Caterham Group CEO Graham Macdonald said of the R500, “If Caterham wasn’t already firmly on the map as one of the world’s best-known British sportscar makers, the R500 certainly helped us to cement that position. It was a landmark model for us in many respects; its performance on the road and track was matched by the impact it had on our brand. It brought new technologies to the Seven range and was the first production Caterham to adopt a sequential gearbox. To some extent, it represented the start of a new era in which Caterham stepped into the 21st century, but it perfectly encapsulated Colin Chapman’s original ethos and harnessed our determination to provide accessible fun like no other.”
For Americans interested in getting their hands on Caterham products, it may be too late for the R500, but current and future products should be available through Superformance, the brand's new U.S. distributor.