new toy, the next level of madness. The logical upgrade to the superlight
R .... the Duratec R !
award-winning car was lovingly crafted and developed by Mick Atree.
As far as I am aware it was the first ever Duratec Powered Caterham
ever completely built (and since copied !).
addition to an absolutely top level build with perfectionists' attention
to detail, it contains quite a lot of one-off custom parts and lightweight
solutions to the engine installation that obviously weren't commercially
available at the time.
rolling chassis spec is a MY2002 R500 with all the top option
boxes ticked including the horrendously expensive Kevlar Tillets,
aerofoil wishbones, Mike Barmby Magnesium split rims etc..
comes courtesy of a 2.0 litre HE Ford Duratec engine which
in just a moderate state of tune overwhelms the flagship Caterahm
R500 spec 230bhp K series both for bhp and torque.
me it was a must buy. I've had 3 K series engines and at least
with two of them haven't been very lucky with reliability
at all. Whilst i've had my fun with the revability and lightweight
of these little engines I wasn't particularly keen to get
into a 4th in, for example, R400 guise.
Full R500 spec
carbon indicator pods
R500 mag wheels
4 into 1 exhaust R500
R500 shift up lights
steering wheel indicator
Q/R momo steering wheel
carbon leather tunnel top
carbon Kevlar tillet seats
Superlight Race Cage
battery cut off switch
Caterham 6 speed box
ZF 3.62 LSD
alluminium fuel filler
4 point harness's
engine started life as a 2.0 litre ford HE Duratec seem in the current
Ford Mondeo. Although there are a few of these out there racing
including the sports2000 series, I'm more than happy to jump on
the Durafever bandwagon in its early life and looking at the spec
have no qualms about playing guinea pig for a while ! Look at the
basics, the Duratec is over square (87.5mm bore and 83.1mm stroke)
leading to lower relative piston speed. The ports and valves are
huge as standard and the steel liners are cast in. All aluminium
head and block means weight is just a handful of kg's more than
a K series, capacity is 2.0 litres and because there's bucketloads
of torque low down it needs so little revs.
at the Duratec R closer, the head has uprated Raceline 220
cams with vernier sprockets, uprated valve springs and retainers
and has been gas flowed. 45 mm direct to head Throttle bodies
are courtesy of Jenvey and the head has been machined so they
are an exact fit.
downwards we see obligatory ARP big end bolts, the Pistons
have been pocketed to accomodate the more aggressive cams
and the crank, pulley and sprocket have had a key way machined
as an extra added safety measure to avoid the highly unlikely
event of the single crank bolt looseing.
those two modifications the bottom end is completely standard
and although the crank is reputedly good for 8500rpm this
beast, via an MBE ecu and Scholar map, is soft cut at just
circulation comes courtesy of a pace twin scavenge pipe dry
sump and a very large imposing oil tank that was custom designed
by Mick and built by Brise. Various other pieces like the
oil filter housing, bellhousing support, alternator bracket,
re-machined thermostat housing, water pipe brackets and machined
aluminium blanking plates for the breather inlets in the cam-cover
and inlet manifold were also custom made by Mick.
The car runs a standard Caterham rad and the exhaust is obviously
on the driver's side with a cut-out in the bonnet for trumpets.
particular interest is the water rail which does not follow
the conventional route as seen in Raceline's Duratec installation,
rather, it runs alongside the fuel rail away from the exhaust
manifold. The downpipes are also interesting in that they
do not dip under the inboard side of the diagonal chassis
member, emerging instead completely horizontal , then clearing
the cross piece then dip down.These
downpipes were originally manufactured by cheesemans for Caterham
Cars for a Duratec development car they were building before
the Rover X power deal was struck. As far as I'm aware they
abandoned the project and the pipes ended up here.
is the venerable caterham 6 speeder, compatable aluminium
bellhousing, titan ultra light flywheel with uprated bolts
and a large 8.5 inch hydraulic AP cutch.
date the car has been to the rollers just once.
Gooding at Redline tuning conducted a session and after we
fixed the rear wheels slipping, the car showed 200bhp at the
wheels at 7000rpm, 250 short of the redline.
his estimate of 15% transmission and RR losses that comes
out at around 230bhp but given the rev range shortfall and
the general consensus that 15% losses is way too small a percentage,
the car may well record higher in future sessions.
printed me out a rough map which clearly isn't that accurate
but gives a guide as to what happened on the day. The figures
are very consistent with Racelines Duratec caterham which
makes 225bhp but does not have a port and polish. When I get
a trailer I hope to take the car to Emerald.
2 Litre HE Ford duratec
Jenvey direct to head throttle bodies
ported and polished
matched to throttle bodies
valve springs and retainers
bigend bolts and flywheel bolts
ultra light flywheel
it like ? Well, eeerrrrrr... its a bit quick thats for sure ! First
off is the gobsmacking torque low down. There is no build up with
this car, no crescendo, no waiting. Stab the pedal and the missile
just launches. Its ferocious, animalistic .... friendly at low revs
and very useable but then scarily brutal when you max the thing
out. Whilst the R500 makes you dizzy just on the last 1000 revs
past 7500, the Duratec R is monumentally quick much lower down.
Duratec R is way on from my old SLR. The 190bhp K series car
always felt just too fast for the road and if you stretched
its legs up from say 20mph through the gears to 3 figures
the acceleration would always give you a rush and just dip
into the realm where everything suddenely feels "bloody
quick", ........but this car goes further.
speed is just manic, "stupid fast" if you like.
The car is quick everywhere. In fact for the first few times
i drove it the acceleration sort of overwhelemed me and completely
dominated the experience. A part of me had had to take time
out and get used to it; staying focused on driving the actual
damm car seemed difficult ! For those first few outings, gunning
up through 2nd-4th in this thing was almost like blacking
out for a bit. For those few seconds as the thing catapulted
toward the horizon I couldn't really see or hear or be aware
of anything. That rush just seemed to dominate and take over
noise of the car is another very special part of the whole
package. The low angry deep bass growl is just glorious.As
the revs increase it gathers more and more anger but staying
deep and bottomless, always sounding like a proper larger
capacity engine. Also, trundling along on a steady throttle
in say 2nd at 3500-4krpm you get this wonderful inexorable
groan, a very loud persitent onslaught to all who pass by.
other day I let someone else take the car out and i had the
pleasure of hearing the thing way off in the distance then
returning to where I was waiting. From the outside the sound
was just sublime, every inch the proper race car. The journey
that morning I'd gone flat from a roundabout right up through
the gears and further along the carriageway 3 workmen at the
side of the road with their hands still on their equipment
just stood agape, their heads panning with the car, eyes transfixed
as I roared by. At the time I was a little bemused (what ?
havent you seen a caterham before) but after hearing the car
as a bystander I nwo realise why they were staring and how
they must have heard me coming from a mile off or so down
the length of the road.
and toeing is also the real deal, the R500 has a glorious noise
when you blip on downchanges and this car delivers here as well.
Its not the thin K sound though of course, again just pure angry
the car flat floored recently and although the camber, rake and
corner weights were already pretty much there or thereabouts a 30mins
adjustment to the front toe really made the car come alive. Now
it handles very much like my old slr, lots of movement underneath
you, great turn in and bite into corners but not too much fidget
or tramlining, and a power-on oversteer attitide once the front
tyres have warmed up.
+ 14 litres fuel
+ 14 litres fuel + driver + helmet
stiffest, (2nd hole)
now we get to the one outstanding issue with the car in its present
state. For hard driving the close ratio caterham 6 speed box is
an issue. Given the 7250rpm rev limit, the speed with which the
engine rips up the rev range and the big flat torque curve, not
only are the change up points for the gears (and hence top speed)
too low but also you use far too many gears far too much of the
time. When pressing on, changing up at the right moment saps your
concentration a little despite the shift lights.
remedy would be to fit the 3.28 diff. This would increase the top
speed by about 9mph and the rest of the gears by 4-8mph. But by
far the best solution would be to fit a brand new bespoke set of
gears. As luck would have it the new elite box from elite racing
transmission is now being used quite widely and is also earmarked
for the 2004 Sports2000 regs. This is a true sequential box with
a nice slick action and at just 18.5kg, a 270ft torque rating and
the potential for drop gears it really mustn't be missed so thats
the plan for early next year.
like my movies.
who've been to this site before may be pleased to know that
I've gone a step further with this car when it comes to on
have two RF concepts hi quality bullet cameras rigged up to
the vehicle. One is permanently mounted to give a wide overall
front view of the car and track, and the other remains moveable
to be installed mostly pointing rearwards and also a few daft
places like attached to the front wishbones etc..
cameras are powered direct to the battery via an inline fuse
and an LED illuminated master power switch. Their video output
is routed to a phono switcher so I can flick between cameras
on the fly.
also mounted a tripod plate and fixing bolt up underneath
the transmission tunnel cover so the sony dv cam can be conveniently
affixed under the dash and back in the pits the lcd can be
swivelled out for easy viewing to move within the tape, check
battery levels and remaining tape length etc..
lanc controller sits on the dash to facilitate camera power
up and record start/stop.
have 2 microphones as well and at the moment I'm still testing
the best possible locations to get good engine sound that
isn't distorted or overwhelmed by wind noise.