Caterham Seven - Best track day cars
The Caterham Seven allows you to enjoy the simple pleasures of driving.
The Caterham Seven allows you to enjoy the simple pleasures of driving. The 160 isn’t fast, but its near-telepathic connection with the road makes it a joy to drive. It’s a perfect car to learn about track driving in and it’s cheap to run every day as well.
The Caterham 7 160 is, in theory, an odd hybrid between a classic 7 and Suzuki Jimny. Caterham takes the Japanese market SUV's tiny three-cylinder 660cc engine, adds a new sump and ECU to bump power from 64bhp to 80bhp, and slots it into a 7 chassis. The Jimny also donates its five-speed gearbox, live rear axle and rear drum brakes.
Although 80bhp doesn't sound like much, the 160 only weighs 490kg, giving a power to weight ratio of 163bhp per tonne. The clutch pedal is light and the stubby gearstick snicks around its gate with ease. The steering is totally unassisted, but it's not heavy, and the rack is fast, giving very quick, faithful response from the tiny wheel that gets heavier as you build speed.
Once the turbo kicks in, the 160 pulls surprisingly hard. Although small, the engine does its best work between 3,400rpm, when the maximum 107Nm of torque is delivered, and around 6,000rpm. Here, it thrums away pleasantly on in third and fourth gears, with the turbo giving a characterful chirp as you back off. Above this, you do get more power, but the racket the engine makes takes the edge off the fun.
Best track day cars 2019
- 1IntroductionWhether you're looking to shave tenths off your lap time, or simply want to have some fun, these are the UK's best track cars
- 21. Porsche 911 GT3 RSThere is no denying that our favourite track day car is one for the more wealthy track day drivers, but the stunningly engineered Porsche 911 GT3 RS is worth every penny.
- 32. Caterham Seven - currently readingThe Caterham Seven allows you to enjoy the simple pleasures of driving.
- 43. Ferrari 488 PistaFerrari makes the 488 more exciting by removing weight and adding power
- 54. McLaren SennaIf you name a car after one of the greatest racing drivers that ever lived, it had better be good. And the Senna is
- 65. Lamborghini Huracan PerformanteAt nearly twice the price of the Porsche 911 GT3 you would expect the Huracan Performante to offer an incredible driving experience, and on many levels it does.
- 76. McLaren 570S Track PackThe McLaren 570S Track Pack gets a range of add-ons designed to deliver the ultimate performance on track.
- 87. Porsche Cayman GTS Sublime handling balance, communicative controls and a stunning engine, the Cayman GTS is a car you’ll want to lap around a track all day.
- 98. Honda Civic Type RAs many petrolheads are aware, Honda has a history of making VTEC performance engines that deliver their best hit of power at the top end of the rev range.
- 109. Hyundai i30 NIt was not that long ago that Hyundai was knocking out dreary model after dreary model reserved for people who’s idea of excitement is a homemade Weetabix smoothie
- 1110. Ariel AtomPowered by a mid-mounted Honda Civic engine, the Atom feels like a big go-kart due to its exposed skeletal chassis.