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New Team Lotus firm to create sports car line

PUBLISHED: 06:30 12 October 2011

Left Tony Shute and right chief executive Mark Edwards of Caterham Technology and Innovation Limited

Left Tony Shute and right chief executive Mark Edwards of Caterham Technology and Innovation Limited

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Established car manufacturer Caterham Cars will create 60 Norfolk jobs with the launch of a new engineering firm to develop a new accessible and affordable sports car.

Caterham Technology and Innovation Limited (CTI) has been launched just months after Caterham Cars was bought by Hingham-based Team Lotus.

The new business hopes to attract a “world-class” team of niche engineers at the Hethel Engineering Centre.

CTI has already recruited Tony Shute from Hethel-based Lotus Cars who is credited with bringing the Series 1 Lotus Elise to market.

But a spokesman for CTI said that the firm was not trying to rival Lotus Cars and the new line was aimed at a different market.

The new firm’s chief executive Mark Edwards, said: “We’ll be recruiting across multiple disciplines locally as there’s a huge talent pool of engineering and administrative excellence in the area.”

“Tony Fernandes has been very clear from the start that Caterham needed a sustainable research and development business model in order to meet the plans the management have for the road car business,” he added. “By establishing unique operating principles for CTI, we have managed to attract a world-class team of niche vehicle engineers eager to build on the ethos of Caterham and the DNA of the Seven.”

“The new shareholders are committed to investing in an exciting range of global products over the next 10 years,” he added.

The new firm will also work for external automotive and aerospace companies.

The company’s new sports cars will be inspired by what it describes at the “lightweight, minimalist philosophy” of Caterham’s famous cult sports car the Seven. It will draw on the technology and materials of the group’s Team Lotus Formula One and Caterham Team AirAsia GP2 motorsport operations.

Mr Shute. who will be head of road cars, said creating the next iconic Caterham was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.

“The core principles and ambitions of CTI have enabled us to attract some of the brightest and most respected talents in their fields.”

Caterham Cars’ chief executive, Ansar Ali, said: “To meet the challenge, we knew we needed to invest in a new operation that would have the scope, experience and vision to deliver.”

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