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2021 Caterham CSR "CatKong"


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2021 Caterham CSR - "CatKong"

 

My 2010 Caterham CSR has been an outstanding car – I love it to bits.

http://www.usa7s.net/vb/showthread.php?6281-Croc%92s-new-CSR-Superlight

 

But over time, many cars it runs with on HPDE events have been getting more powerful. Think about it, at the beginning of the decade Corvettes were 400-500hp, Mustangs were about 350 and Porker 911s were 350-450hp depending on model choice. In these big heavy cars, this hp level equalized out to the 270-odd hp my 2010 CSR had. I was able to keep up in lap time terms despite these cars boogieing off down the straight I could catch them in the braking zone and subsequent corners.

 

10 years on the equation has changed. Hp in those cars is 700-800 or higher hp. My Caterham CSR can no longer keep up despite having a highly talented driver.

 

In 2017 knowing the UK had tanked their currency for years, reducing Caterham prices substantially, I went to Bruce Beachman of Beachman Racing fame and asked, what would it take to build the most awesome Caterham? After being somewhat taken aback by my unusual request, he got into the spirit of things once he realized my expectations on timing and needing patience were realistic and flexible. This was not going to be your usual quick build.

 

We debated – 620R? CSR with 620R drivetrain? Regular deDion with a Godzilla engine? CSR with Godzilla? There were compromises but we both agreed from our past experiences that the CSR was unbeatable on a track against any other Caterham with the same drivetrain. To paraphrase Bruce, the other chassis’ could potentially match the CSR time but it would be a more fraught task for a very good driver. Eventually, we landed on placing an order for a Caterham CSR with the intent of coming up with a special drivetrain later.

 

The Caterham CSR fell off the product list at Caterham for a bunch of reasons – Arch-made chassis are not cheap plus it is complex which costs more to put together. Probably some other reasons but let’s not go there. However, Caterham never stopped making the CSR – it was still being sold in Switzerland and Australia for local market homologation reasons. So a CSR order could be placed for a roller chassis – waiting time 2 years – longer than the (at the time) 1 year wait list for the deDion chassis Caterham. Deposit down.

 

Fast forward in time. I had been noodling and proceeded to surprise Bruce with some upgraded thinking about ‘shooting for the moon.’ All credit due, he has been quite patient with my surprises. I think he was vaguely ok with being adventurous but was somewhat concerned about my ambition to visit the moon in a Caterham. It required both us to align expectations and recognize that miracles may take a week extra and the impossible just needs that additional month. Unexpected delays were always going to be a feature of this project.

 

Bruce did name the car “CatKong.” However, at his 2019 workshop Christmas party, where I attended, one of his wisecracking customers suggested that “Big Pussy” would be a more appropriate name given that’s what it would turn the driver into. Vinyl lettering in Caterham Firecracker Yellow has been produced with the “CatKong” name.

 

The specs. The order from Caterham was:

 

  • CSR chassis
  • Color: Body is in Aston Martin Almond Green (2014-17) (Code: AST1140/Ditzler PPG 400525). Nose band is in Caterham Firecracker Yellow.
  • Standard wheels: Caterham 15 inch CSR wheels mounted with Avon ZZS tires.
  • Standard dash (not the curvy one – I had plans here)
  • Carbon fiber front and rear wings
  • Carbon fiber aeroscreen
  • Plumbed in fire suppression system
  • Track day roll bar
  • Painted 7 grille
  • Carbon fiber indicator pods
  • Lowered floors
  • Standard S-type leather seats
  • Uprated brake master cylinder
  • Aero filler fuel cap – black
  • Battery disconnect switch
  • High intensity LED lights with daylight running lights integrated
  • No driveline – comes as a roller from the Caterham Dartford factory.
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Once it was in Seattle in late 2019 the magic could begin. The next stage of specification was:

 

2.5L Duratec. High quality build. JE pistons. Carillo rods. ARP studs. Compression 12.5:1 Initial dyno at 327hp @7400rpm. Redline will be 8000+rpm. Gear change will be at 7200rpm based on expected torque curve. 100 Octane fuel. 6000 mile refresh interval. A further dyno tune will be needed with its final ECU map once all has been installed in the car – I expect there is another 10hp in the engine once final map is done. 380hp was an option but the trade off was refresh life plus I know from experience there is a law of diminishing returns in a Caterham in terms of putting power down plus getting around a corner with no aero.

 

Clearly the fuel pump is upgraded from standard. Inline fuel pressure gauge to assist any problem diagnosis in the future. Upgraded fuel lines and regulator.

 

For intake the Cosworth roller barrels are used as per standard CSR260. A ram air intake in carbon fiber from Reverie.

 

Oil cooler instead of the regular modine to manage the fearsome oil temps on track the CSR260 is known for.

 

Sadev 6 speed sequential. Ratios (to be confirmed) 1st 2.071. 2nd 1.6. 3rd 1.3. 4th 1.095. 5th 0.95. 6th 0.828. Final drive will be 3.62:1 Theoretical max is over 175mph at redline in 6th gear. Being realistic, with enough runway, 150-160mph is the likely max once aero is factored in.

 

Diff is a SPC/Tracsport with the aforementioned 3.62:1 ratio.

 

Given the power being put through this rear end, the diff bracing has been considered and beefed it up.

 

The road car rear uprights are removed and replaced with the CSR race uprights. This removes the ability to have a handbrake but who needs that – I just light the tires up to rotate the car in its own length. Parking? Ummm….

 

The delivery from Caterham included an upgraded brake master cylinder but Bruce also upgraded the rear brakes to the CSR race spec plus fitted a proportioning valve. Front brakes remain standard.

 

The standard Caterham MBE ECU is removed and an MBE 9A9 ECU installed. This is a full motorsport spec ECU. Capable of OBDII. It integrates engine with dash and gearbox for full electronic coordination.

 

This is useful as we are using the AIM MXS digital dash with logging capability. Will include gear indicator, customizable displays, shift lights. Will even integrate with an AIM SmartyCam.

 

To do the digital dash, I have bought a new blank carbon dash and worked with Bruce to design a nice clean layout. Switchgear will be 620R style with metal toggles and those U-shape elements that sit alongside the toggle.

 

Using the upgraded ECU and digital dash allows us to install launch control, traction control and an inline throttle blipper for downshifts. Traction control will likely come in handy.

 

The car will also have ABS ability on its brakes.

 

To change gears the standard Caterham lever disappears. Paddle shifters via Meteor Motorsports/SBD are installed. These integrate smoothly with the Sadev and interact with the ECU/digital dash.

 

Because suspension is such a big part of the CSR’s success, Meteor Motorsport supplied the Tractive 3-way active damper/suspension kit. Touchscreen controller for the cockpit with 4 presets for suspension set up. This allows you to set up for dry (hard), wet (soft), tires going off front or back. It then actively manages the suspension around those presets based on yaw/acceleration. Having driven a car with it fitted at Donington in 2019, I was surprised how good it was – takes you time to stop trying to drive around the car and begin trust it. The suspension’s external reservoirs are mounted nearby. Bruce fabricated some custom removable access panels for the boot area. All of this is based on Meteor Motorsport race spec spring settings of 300lb front and 225lb rear.

 

For grip in the wet or road, I will use the standard road CSR 15 inch wheels with Avon ZZS tires. For dry, I have 13 inch Wesmo BBS wheels with CSR offset – shiny chrome outer ring and gold inners. Hoosiers will be the preferred dry tire for track fun.

 

For seats I went to Tillett on the Isle of Sheppey in the UK. Steve Tillet worked with me to try on all of his seats until I found one that fitted my ample proportions and did not recline me so far that I felt like an orangutang. So 2 x B7XL-47 seats in carbon fiber were ordered. The aluminum inward facing seat brackets were sourced from Tillet and mounted to the Caterham seat runners for adjustability.

 

To improve seat comfort, I ordered a set of seat pads from Oxford Trimming in the UK – they do the leather seating and center console cover work for Caterham. Diamond quilted leather with a black stitch. The black nicely hides any accidents I may have.

 

Also from Oxford was a custom leather center console pad to replace the original. Deletes the gear lever opening and handbrake opening. Diamond quilted black leather with a contrasting mid-green stitching.

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A raft of other mods being done include:

 

 

  • LED rear fog and reverse lights from Car Builder Solutions to replace the caravan trailer lights
  • A proper Caterham nose badge – not the fridge magnet looking one
  • Rear stop lights replaced with Just Add Lightness LED light clusters
  • Passenger footwell fire extinguisher – Element E50 with carbon fiber mount
  • Upgraded horn – Hella Supertones. Excellent for getting pesky Porsches out of my way. Works superbly on my current CSR.
  • Inertial cut off switch removed. Given the switch requires me to be upside down with engine running and unconscious for it to operate, I think we can delete it safely as I am more likely to be deeply embedded in a tree.
  • Carbon fiber bow tubes
  • Carbon fiber nose whiskers
  • Custom oil catch tank in carbon wrap instead of the Caterham supplied cheap plastic washer bottle
  • Map pockets (stores phone or logbook while driving)
  • Carbon fiber “chin” for nose cone – improves aero by reducing front end lift
  • Engine hour meter
  • Carbon fiber rear wing protectors
  • 12V and USB sockets for the cockpit
  • 6-point FIA belts
  • Diff breather and catch tank (my current CSR blows a lot when it gets hot)
  • High mounted rear brake light
  • Odyssey PC680 battery with the manufacturer mounting tray.

 

Ultimately, I will have it all covered in 3M clear bra to stop stone chips.

 

 

The build proceeds although Covid-19 has slowed things down. The current problem is getting a Caterham wiring harness to talk with the upgraded ECU. Having the UK shut down with their infection issues has made this challenging. Likely requires engineering a connection solution from scratch – not an easy task I am the first to admit.

 

I have not been back to the workshop since December 2019 so sorry no updated photos at this time. Will be out there again next month and will stop by to get them then.

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Insanity, madness, ludicrousness. It feels like during the build you checked off the top box including the secret boxes that turn it up to 11 not shown to "regular" customers.

 

We know it will take the power/speed title, pretty sure you're also taking the invoice crown from the certain orange Cat.

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This build has obviously been a labor of love. So cool that you and Bruce are the ones making this ultimate Caterham happen.

 

Biggest changes over the current CSR seem to be the adjustable suspension with trick shocks, traction/launch control, throttle blipper, and the paddle shifter Sadev transmission.

 

It looks like peak power wont be all that different? I thought your current CSR made in the 300 hp range also? Or is torque way up and the torque/hp curve fatter?

 

I didn't see dry sump in your list of specs but am sure its there.

 

Roll over bar in a car capable of 160 mph seems pretty brave. Bruce built, or had built for him, the roll cage for my Cat and no one else's comes close to offering the protection it does (esp Caterham's). I get that you want it to be usable for the street but you have your current car for that, right?

 

I love the color. I cant wait to see more pix.

 

What do you think all of this will weigh (Around 1,400 lbs.?).

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Croc - that's sick and what a project!! This is F3 performance level category and then some... and with no aero . I agree with blue BDA.. why no full roll cage.. or is this coming soon? Cleary lots to talk about this coming weekend at the track. Look forward to seeing the gang.

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Mike,

I have not posted in a while but I check in to the website pretty regularly.

Congrats on the arrival of your "new baby". When she learns to walk she will keep you on your toes!!! You have got to love an la carte Caterham. This one is a BEAST..... With your vast experience of these cars and your network of contacts i think you have ticked off all the boxes. A Saville Row Caterham. If I might suggest: if you decide later on you need a handbrake, the drag race boys use a hydraulic line lock that will keep your brake pads pinched. They are small and can be incorporated into your existing brake lines.

 

I'm sorry I will not be joining you all this weekend but I know you will have fun. I look forward to reading the reportage (and the Monday morning banter/quarterbacking). I hope to see you all next year.

 

Thanks again to you and Tom for keeping this event going. Be safe everyone.

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Mike,

I have not posted in a while but I check in to the website pretty regularly.

Congrats on the arrival of your "new baby". When she learns to walk she will keep you on your toes!!! You have got to love an la carte Caterham. This one is a BEAST..... With your vast experience of these cars and your network of contacts i think you have ticked off all the boxes. A Saville Row Caterham. If I might suggest: if you decide later on you need a handbrake, the drag race boys use a hydraulic line lock that will keep your brake pads pinched. They are small and can be incorporated into your existing brake lines.

 

I'm sorry I will not be joining you all this weekend but I know you will have fun. I look forward to reading the reportage (and the Monday morning banter/quarterbacking). I hope to see you all next year.

 

Thanks again to you and Tom for keeping this event going. Be safe everyone.

 

 

Comparing Croc to a Mr. Phileas Fogg is a big big stretch. As for the car, it is, I agree ~1870 technology with some Jules Verne fictional upgrades. Can't wait to see it fly! :)

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The Phileas Fogg association was a Freudian slip. I didn't think of it, although with his hectic travel schedule I'm sure he's been "Around the World n Eighty Days" more than once. My Saville Row reference was referring to a area of London that has a reputation for high quality bespoke tailoring and nothing is too much to ask for. It seems to me that CatKong is one mans vision of what the ultimate Seven trackway car could be. This behavior should be wholeheartedly encouraged. I can't wait to see it. Whats next........CatZilla??

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  • Croc changed the title to 2021 Caterham CSR "CatKong"

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