The British sportscar manufacturer will make its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours this year, from 22 to 23 June, as part of a move to raise its position as a global sportscar developer before it launches a brand new model in 2016.
Caterham Motorsport will run the #41 Zytek Z11SN-Nissan in the LMP2 category, with Caterham F1 Team Reserve Driver and Caterham Racing GP2 driverAlexander Rossi joining double LMP2 class-winner, Tom Kimber-Smith and gentleman driver Eric Lux in the driving seat.
The move reflects Caterham’s growing status and ambition on the international stage. Caterham F1 Team is competing in its second season at the pinnacle of motorsport under the Caterham banner and, in November 2012, Caterham Cars announced a 50:50 Joint Venture partnership with Renault to develop and build its first new road model in 20 years.
The entry to Le Mans also builds on the launch, in 2010, of the Caterham SP/300.R, a supercharged, mini Le Mans-style sports prototype, which has received glowing reviews from both customers and media and garnered strong demand as an advanced trackday machine and race school car.
A crew of Caterham engineers, technicians and data analysts will be embedded with its partner team at Le Mans, the highly-successful Greaves Motorsport outfit, to ensure that Caterham’s legendary ability to deliver intuitive handling characteristics is applied to the set-up of the #41 car.
Caterham personnel will be led by Caterham Technology CEO Mike Gascoyne. He said: “Within Caterham Group, we have a great deal of experienced personnel with a wide range of technical expertise – from powertrain development to carbon composite design.
“While there won’t be any specification changes we can apply to the car for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, because the car is homologated for the whole season, we will be looking in more detail at how our various areas of expertise across both Caterham Technology & Innovation and Caterham Composites can be applied to a customer Sports Prototype programme in future.
As well as marking Caterham’s first participation in the round-the-clock race, the Le Mans 24 Hours will also be the first foray into international sportscar racing for Alexander Rossi. Rossi’s involvement in the Le Mans programme will form part of his wider motorsport development under the guidance of Caterham.
The Caterham Motorsport #41 LM P2 car will make its on-track debut at the official ACO test at Le Mans from 8 to 9 June, followed by the race itself.