Exige v 340r v Elise v Caterham

http://www.lotus7club.co.uk/blatchat/topic.asp?topic_id=6756&forum_id=1&forum_title=ChitCh&M=False&S=True&Topic_Title=R500+vs+Lotus+340R+%3F&P= What do people think ? I am starting to like the idea of a Caterham as a track car.

Yeah, have followed a similar thread on british-cars.co.uk also.Naturally I’m biased, but I actually like the fact that the Exige is a coupe and I’m not going to get wet, or have my hood slashed.I also like the fact that the Exige exhibits lots of downforce at speed, aiding high speed cornering - more than nearly any other car available.I also gather that R500’s have been recalled due to engine failures.The only thing the R500’s have over the Exige is their power-weight advantage - that cannot be denied.Supercharge upgrades for all I say !Vive la difference.

Hi Rod, I’ve just had a quick look at that thread but sadly I don’t have an hour to spare at the moment to read it! [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/frown.gif[/image] However, I do have a reasonable amount of experience when it comes to Caterhams, both road legal and full-house racers. Basically, I thing they’re brilliant cars, and the power to weight of the R500 has nearly proved too tempting on a number of occasions, but I’ve always resisted. The Caterhams have stunning power to weight ratios, and they’re really cheap to mend if you take a corner off (unless you do it properly, and then like any car it gets very expensive), but my issue has always been crash protection. The side impact protection consists of the chassis tube (not hugely strong) and a sheet of thin aluminium! If you consider a roll, the triangulation between the top of the roll hoop and the tip of the bonnet just about includes your head, and your head would certainly be the thing collecting ground based debris if you were unfortunate enough to slide upside down. Like most Exige owners, I like to think I can get by on a circuit, but I accept that one day I might get it very wrong. Come that day I want the best chance I can get of walking away from it. The Exige (and Elise for that matter) are very good in accidents; they have very good side impact protection, and the A pillars can support the weight of the car upside down in a slide. I’ve even seen Elises that have been barrel-rolled through hedges where the driver has walked away completely unhurt! So, it’s not that I think one car is better than the other is, IMHO they’re too different to compare, it’s more that I don’t trust myself in a Caterham! Even the Caterham competition roll cage doesn’t leave me that convinced. Finally, the only time I’ve had my Exige on a circuit with Caterhams, they were going backwards! [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image] Sorry to go on, but I think safety is something that people don’t always pay enough attention to when it comes to taking cars on a circuit. [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/smile.gif[/image]

A very valid safety point Tony, and not one that has been made in the above thread.When you get a couple of hours, you can take a look at the debate, that David makes reference to, also out of control here : http://www.british-cars.co.uk/cgi-bin/gen5?runprog=lotusbbs&access=&mode=tlist&subj ect=2001 See the thread on "Catherham vs Lotus"I doubt I would stretch to an R500, but the Superlight R with the VHPD 1.8 appears fun and reliable.[This message has been edited by Rod (edited 24 July 2001).]

Sadly Tony is very right with his concerns regarding safety of Caterhams.As you may have read in the Motor Sport press Nic Fairman (his father is a colleague of mine) died as the result of a sideways impact in his Caterham during a recent 750MC race.Even with the full cage you are very exposed at the side. Which is why its an Exige for me.

I’m very sorry to hear that, I wasn’t aware, and unfortunately it reinforces my concerns…

Hi all,I hope you don’t mind a Caterham owner having a nose around your site and putting a reply to this thread, but I thought it might be an informed view for your discussion, seeing we have similar threads on our site. http://www.lotus7club.co.uk/blatchat/default.asp I must say that I like both cars equally, both have their for’s & against’s.I often look out at the rain and wish my Caterham had a better roof system like Elises or a hard top like an Exige.But when the sun comes out I think, thank God! I have the Caterham.As for repair bills, they are pretty cheap to repair and the brake pads are cheap and I get a good number of trackdays to a standard set of pads.I must say that I have a lot of respect for drivers of both cars because it’s all about the same thing, having fun, driving fast, and sticking two fingers up to the establishment who want us all to drive around in smart cars or take the bus.As we all know, we can die driving either of our cars, If you get hit by a lorry I think we both would come out of it pretty badly, I must say it’s very hard to roll a Caterham and in the same breath you feel safer in an Elise because of the extra space you appear to get, I don’t know how much stronger it is or would the nice fiberglass just disintergrate? Space doesn’t mean strenght. There are more Caterhams on trackdays and racing than any other single make of cars in any given week. You proberbily get slightly better protecton in an Elise and a bit more in an Exige. But if its protection you want surely you want a TVR or a Porsche?I feel that I get more protection and stablility in my Caterham than if I was on a motor bike. So where do you stop.As for proformance they both have there pros & cons. On my first trackday I got overtaken by more Elises than I care to mention, One guy back in the pit felt great because I was the first Caterham he had overtaken. It turn out he had done 4 trackdays. When my instructor drove my 1.6K-series Caterham it turn the tables and we blew away 3 elise and an Exige. I learnt very quickly that its not so much the car but the driver. Now that I have done three trackdays I have now overtaken elises, which is nice for me, but I don’t know how good the drivers are of those cars.I think with equally matched drivers a Superlight or an R500 would win the day because of the power to weight and the lower centre of gravity. Not wanting to start an argument the R500 holds the lap record at the ring.As for R500 recalls I have not heard about that, but it has been found that the 8000 mile service is a bit of a head rebuild, I think its about two grand to two & a half grand. But you must put this in to context, The engine is tuned so highly that its like most full production race engines, where you gain in power you lose in servicing costs. Most racing cars get their heads rebuilt every 10,000 miles any way.I hope this helps your discussion and I look forward to what you have to say with interest.

Hi Snapper,It’s good to see things from a Caterham owner’s perspective.While you’re glad to own a Caterham on sunny days, they tend to be few and far between in this country ! [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/smile.gif[/image] As for safety, you’re correct, where do you stop… The newly launch Omatic cars (http://www.omatic.com) seem to offer a good solution, bonded aluminium tubs a-la the Elise/Exige with the body/styling of a Caterham. The Rojo Omatics offering up to 650bhp/tonne. I’ll be keen to test one of those when it becomes available (but then they’re the upper end again at ~25K)

I agree that the sunney days are few and far between, I still take the Caterham out no matter what the weather. Some people won’t. My veiw is that the car is for driving so thats what I do.

quote:Originally posted by Snapper:I agree that the sunney days are few and far between, I still take the Caterham out no matter what the weather. Some people won’t. My veiw is that the car is for driving so thats what I do.I wonder what version of Caterham you have ? Do you have any views on SL vs SLR vs R500 ?

To Answer Rod’s question:I have a 1.6K-series which has the Supersport kit as an upgrad and on the rolling road I’m told it has 140bhp, and I have had all the suspension sorted out so its a well balanced car for the track. Early next year I plan to take the engine up to 160-170 bhp. It can be taken further but it won’t be that nice for touring. which is what it does mostly. I have done 9000 miles in ten months which is alot compared to most Caterhams.As for comments on the SL vs SLR vs R500: Well I would choose to have the Superlight R, but at the moment I have not got the money. The R500 is over priced for what you get by about � 3-4k in my view, I have been for a ride in one and I most say it was out of this world the power, speed and the braking was unbelievable. I can see why it holds the lap record at the ring. I also wouldn’t want it for the serving costs of the head rebuild every 8000 miles, If you tried to drive it through London in the rush hour on a friday night it would be painfull.I have been around Castle Combe in one of the 1.6 Superlights which was race prepared with a very good driver at the wheel. Again it was mega, We exited the pit lane and over took two other Caterhams buy the time we was a quarter of the way around. As we came out of the last bend before the long streight to start the second lap we over took a Porsche 911, an Elise, and an Exige all in one go. Having been the last car out of the pits we was the lead car by the end of the first lap. I can’t comment on the other drivers skills but they looked as though they had some experiance.I have not been for a ride in the Superlight R yet but being the 1.8 engine it would be better than the 1.6 and nicer to drive when touring. I’m told it would have a less urget feel to it but with greater power compared to the smaller engine.I am told that if you did alot of trackdays and a lot of hard driving you may want to get the head check out ever 12,000 miles but the cost would be no where near wath the R500 head service would be.If I had the money it would be the SLR every time, But thats my choice. I know its not everyone choice on the Caterham/ Lotus 7 web pages.I almost bought an Elise before getting my Caterham, The Caterham was a boy hood but when I went to buy one in the early ninties I couldn’t use any of the pedles so I was left dreaming for years. I went to a lotus dealership to look at a second hand Elise which cought my eye, I looked over the car and thought great I want it, I didn’t quite know how I was going to buy it but that was a minnor problem. I went in and saw the salesman who was sadly up his own ??? and wouldn’t take me out in the car or let me test drive it. Two weeks later I was taken out for some fast laps in a Caterham at silverstone and thought great I want one. Had a sit in the drivers seat and found that on newer models I could use the pedles. With-in a month I owned one.I would still love to have a ride in an Exige or an Elise because I have never had a ride in one. I live in Birmingham, so if any one would like to swap a ride for a ride let me know my email is [email protected]

erm…just one thing…why did mr chapman stop producing seven’s? yes, he wanted to produce proper cars. on the top of that, for my eyes, they are just so ugly. they always remind me of soap boxes which we used to built when I was a snapper…but as david already mentioned: vive la difference…gosh, didn’t know that you speak French…he-he…cheers,Bruno

Hi SnapperI used to own an ex-race Caterham 7 HPC (186bhp. straight cut g/rbox, AP’s, etc) and enjoyed it immensely for a year or so.The Exige is more similar to it than the Elise I had a while back.The main difference is the Exige gets driven a lot more as I can take it out even when I’m not sure how the weather is going to pan out.In fairness my 7 had no weather protection at all but still prefernot having to mess about with poppers, etc that having a properroof gives you. Actually, same reason I prefer the Exige to the 340 R.Drive an Exige and you’ll find it a much more focused driver’s carthan an Elise - like a 7 in fact [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/smile.gif[/image]Still like Caterhams though.Cheers - Ally

I can see why it holds the lap record at >the ringNot anymore :-(Have a look at this: http://home3.swipnet.se/~w-32546/nbring/laptimes%20for%20different%20cars.htm The best a Caterham R500 ever did was about 7.55 min IMHO. You have to remember though that the Nordschleife really is a high speed circuit and that cars like the Caterham and our Exige are not made for that (note the time for the Exige). On the short circuit Hockenheim things look completely different again, here the Exige is able of lap times in the league of Porsche Turbos, Ferrari 360s and Lamborghini Diablos although it’s way down on top-speed as you can imagine.Nikolaj

quote:Have a look at this…[/B]I find it hard to believe that those figures represent a level playing field. Different conditions, albeit different dry conditions, and if it’s the same driver lack of familiarity with some or all of the cars must feature in them. Just my 2p.