We MotorPunks are, to coin a phrase, Caterhamaniacs. There hasn’t been a model from Britain’s best Garagistas that we haven’t been mad about and the 270R is no exception. But there’s more to this feature than an over-enthusiastic review, we had a great day at Goodwood on the 2016 Mission Motorsport Invitational which we were kindly invitationalised to. There’s another phrase created. I’m on fire today. Here’s the crowd.

Wonky pic (c) Matt Biggs.

Regular readers might know that a straw poll of MotorPunk’s employees (not many straws needed) resulted in the Caterham 160 being voted our favourite car of all time. You can see our review of it, warts and all, online here. Some grumbled that 80bhp really isn’t enough to have fun, but these people are wrong. If you want your fun delivered at a higher tempo then the 270R is the one to try. 270 being the power to weight ratio, it has 135bhp, this one, and I can’t find my calculator to tell you exactly what the weight is. Half a ton. Ish. Something like that. These cars are not about the numbers, they’re about the feeling of speed, and all Caterhams come with that as standard. All the stats and prices are online on Caterham’s website here. Here’s what it looked like on collection before we covered it in bugs;

Mission Motorsport hold an annual invitational event to raise awareness of their work, to thank their generous sponsors and to ensure injured servicemen and women get a go in some of their dream metal. It’s also a great matchmaking event. RollsRoyce and JLR, for example, often employ Mission Motorsport people and at this gig these people can mingle for the greater good. Goodwood is booked and, this time, £72* million’s worth of automotive exotica turned up. And us in an instantly popular little yellow car, which looked at home among the supercars. Let’s have some pictures, shall we?

In our company were such exotics as the first prototype Rolls Royce Wraith black edition, engraved with the Mission Motorsport logo because the people working there are simply the best chaps in the business. It is impossible not to warm to Rolls Royce, the more you know about the way they work and the beautiful things they create.

Not one, but two Porsche 918s and a McLaren P1, and how about a Carrera GT? Lots of moderns but as this is a select gig there were classics too, like a particular favourite of ours, a Rover SD1. Harry Metcalfe said hello and allowed us a poke around his pristine 993. Everywhere were interesting people and cars mostly only ever seen in magazines. The organisers should be thanked profusely for their hard work in bringing this lot together.

The idea was that Mission Motorsport invited precisely the kind of cars that their beneficiaries love. Like an original Mini Cooper (piloted by Nick Swift and our mate William Medcalfe who we filmed this Bentley feature with). The people here are all in good spirits. Squaddies and Millionaires mixed and enthused over a shared love of motoring. Cars were diving into two groups, some on track, others for road use, like us. How tiny does the Caterham look next to the Rolls Royce?

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Our job was to joyride anyone who wanted a blast in the 270R. There was a queue. I split the driving with Lex who, for obvious reasons, was a more popular choice of pilot for the majority of people. Bikers can usually drive a bit and she is no exception. I’m not admitting here she’s a better driver than me as she’d never shut up about it.

I ought to sum up the 270R’s driving experience. You’ll already know (and not care) about the press-stud roof, flappy doors, rudimentary heating and ‘comfortably entombed’ driving position. The small diameter steering wheel needs little work and once you’re used to the fidgeting the natural reaction is to not fight tiny changes of steering angle; that splendid suspension will work it out. There’s a decent amount of grip and it will squirm in tight turns but such is the seating position that it is easily sensed and caught and, with experience, provoked, because driving like this is a blast. 0-60 takes 5 seconds and the criminally insane have the potential of a top speed of 122mph. Our best was a ton, with a squealing amputee in the passenger seat.

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As a kit the 270 starts at a shade over £20k. We’d have the chaps at Caterham build it. The R pack costs £4k and adds a carbon fibre dash, uprated brakes and suspension, slippy diff, lightweight seats and harnesses which are certainly very safe but a pain in the arse to use on a regular basis. It would be easy to spec a 270 to around £30k, that’s c.50% more than the 160. Is it 50% more fun? You’d have to try one yourself and see. And for those for whom even 135bhp isn’t enough Caterham will sell you the 620; 620bhp/ton – that’s Caterhamadness. OK, I’ll stop with the puns now.

Thanks for reading. Please have a look on the Mission Motorsport website here for more about their activities. Our huge thanks to them for our invitation and we look forward to supporting them, however we can, in the future.

Words; Rich Duisberg. Pics; Rich Duisberg, Lex Pearce and Matt beardy Biggs.

*Thanks, Ben for the correction.

2 Responses

  1. Ben

    Excellent piece, well done mate and thanks. Was great having you there on the day.

    As for the value of the paddock being around £6.2m – As Donnie Brasco would say, fugeddaboudit. At a guess I’d say £75m, possibly more.

    Also, I’m sure I speak for all readers when I say that we’d like to see much more of Lex and much less of you.

    Reply
    • Lex

      Fair comment Ben, Motorpunks readers are so wise. Also, thank you so much for having me part of the gang for the day.

      Reply

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