Our tame racing driver helps kicks off Evans's CarFest motor show...
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It’s the Kobayashi Caterham!
A couple of months back, we built a Caterham 160 and handed it over to one of the Surrey team’s F1 drivers, Kamui Kobayashi, to drive at Silverstone. Kobayashi, you’ll remember, has a penchant for hair-raising overtakes. And crashing Ferrari F1 cars.
And though he’d never driven a Caterham until we lent him ours, it seems we’ve given Kamui the bug, for he’s put his name to a limited edition run of Caterhams headed straight for Japan.
It’s based on the Seven 250R, and gets a 1.6-litre Ford engine producing 125bhp. Not much, but then the 250R weighs slightly less than a 50p piece. With a six-speed manual gearbox and a limited slip diff, the 250R will hit 62mph in 5.9 seconds and run on to 122mph. That’s plenty, believe us.
Kamui’s Caterham is finished in gloss black and comes with carbon fibre front and rear wings - painted in Caterham green - and an aluminium tonneau cover on the passenger side, rendering it a single seater.
There’s a rollover hoop fitted to the rear bulkhead, a carbon fibre dashboard and sports seat, Kamui’s logo on the head rest (not to mention Kamui gauge inlays and a Kamui ‘wordmark’, which we’re pretty sure is a ‘name’) and a Takata-branded four-point race harness.
“I knew in one corner what it was like,” Kamui told TG when we handed him the keys to our homebuilt 160. “You feel that it’s alive, moving under you, but you’re not scared. You’re not going fast enough.” Though, truth be told, nothing seems to scare Kamui.
Just ten will be built, and they’re all heading for Japan for the bargain price of 6,000,000 Yen, which is around £35,000. Why only Japan? Because a) Kamui’s Japanese and a massive fan favourite, and b) Japan is Caterham’s second-largest export market.
So which F1 drivers should put their name to limited-edition road cars? Lewis and a silver SLS Black? And the ‘P1 Button’ has something of a ring to it, no?