I was rather hoping that in Forza 6, I’d be able to take the Caterham 620R, the ultimate version of the Caterham Seven, for a drive here. But that’s not in. The best you can do is modify the Seven we already have instead. And the one in question is the R500, which is the next best thing.
Mostly, I’ve always really liked cars as ridiculously lightweight as this. And it helps if the looks are even remotely interesting as well. The Seven looks much more than that; it looks fantastically mad.
As per standard British tradition, the base of the Seven came from 1957. Caterham has been making them since 1972 but still, as ever, the car lives on in spite of its ridiculous age.
Only that partly because it’s such a rare thing, and partly because unlike some other long overdue icons, the Seven was built mostly for driving. So who cares if the thing’s been around for nearly 60 years?
This one is packing a 2-litre Ford engine making 263bhp. That’s not bad for a normal car, but for a Caterham it’s much more than just ‘not bad’. Because the car weighs just over 500kg, which means that the all-important stat here is the power-to-weight ratio – 520bhp per tonne. And that’s ridiculous.
What the engine brings most of all is blinding acceleration – but unfortunately, if you go all out with the engine, you won’t notice it much. Because the rear wheels will be going mad and sending the whole car into a doozy. Starting with no revs actually makes it a damn sight more noticeable.
Indeed there’s so much power on tap it’s unquestionably absurd. If you have the throttle floored, the car will spin the wheels at every possible opportunity. Always in 1st, often in 2nd, in small quantities in 3rd and sometimes even in 4th.
You need to keep this car in check, always. And this turns out to be a difficult task, requiring a lot of throttle control. Very, very precise measuring to make sure the R500 is moved as little as possible and you can actually take advantage of its minimal weight.
Naturally, I didn’t stand a chance. So it just threw me about at every opportunity. Which meant it didn’t go very fast. Or indeed anywhere at all sometimes, so often I was just spinning around hopelessly.
If you actually want to get anything out of this, you’ll probably want to drive more sensibly than I did. If you do nothing else but go fast, you should find the R500 to be a weapons-grade piece of kit. And as that engine flings this super-lightweight body around and buzzes away as you’d expect any Seven to, you might just realise what this car can do.
Me, though…well, I wanted the 620R so I could have the fastest of all. But after this, I’ve realised what I really need, is a Roadsport.
Or Gran Turismo’s ridiculously slow Fireblade. Seriously, their Seven is an insult to the name. At least this one really, really isn’t…