Caterham Cars is entering the UK’s most prestigious eco-driving event, the MPG Marathon, for the first time in a two seater sports cars billed as the manufacturer’s ‘most frugal ever’.
The British sportscar maker will be entering the entry level version of the iconic Caterham Seven, the 160, rated as the most economical in the company’s history and the most cost-effective two-seater sportscar on the market.
The 160 is powered by a super-compact, turbocharged three-cylinder Suzuki engine, which enables it to achieve an impressive 57.6mpg, emit just 114g/km CO2 and yet reach 0 – 62mph in a blistering 6.5 seconds.
“We are delighted that Caterham Cars is entering the MPG Marathon, the UK’s leading lean driving challenge, for the first time,” said organiser Jerry Ramsdale, publishing director of Fleet World. “We will be very interested to see how it compares against some of the more conventional models that are taking part.”
This year’s event, which, in its 15th year, is being sponsored for the first time by Barclaycard Fuel+ in association with TMC, takes place on Tuesday, September 29 and Wednesday, September 30.
It will set off from the stunning Heythrop Park Hotel and the Heythrop Park Resort near Enstone in Oxfordshire over a two-day, 300-mile plus route and includes a number of alternative and conventionally powered vehicles.
Caterham will join other car makers including BMW, Ford, Peugeot, Renault, Citroen, Honda, Mazda, Kia and Jaguar who have confirmed they will be entering their very latest models for this year’s event.
This year will also see the quest for the ‘most efficient fleet driver’ for the first time, as there will be ten places up for grabs on a first-come, first-served basis for company car drivers and co-drivers.
The lucky contestants will all participate in five identical BMW 320d ED Sport models and attempt to complete the 300-mile course under normal driving conditions using as little fuel as possible, to gain the new title.
Drivers who have already entered this year’s event include Ben Wilson, this year’s ‘Patrol of the Year’ from sponsor, RAC, who will be driving in the new Mercedes Vito van that he uses every day in the course of his patrol duties, complete with a full load of 500 parts and tools.
He will be supported by colleagues from the RAC refuelling patrol team who will be on-hand around the course to ensure participants keep on the move and are operating within the rules of the challenge.
This year’s MPG Marathon, which is also being co-sponsored by ALD Automotive and TRACKER, allows competitors to find the most efficient route between set checkpoints, reprising the approach that was first introduced two years ago.
In previous years, the MPG Marathon has attracted motoring celebrities, journalists, academics and senior figures from the automotive industry, all striving to see if they can complete the chosen route using as little fuel as possible.
It is also open to fleet managers, representatives from fleet services, contract hire and leasing and fleet management companies, and from the motor industry, plus anyone associated with it.
Last year’s overall champions were Honda engineers Fergal McGrath and James Warren, who recorded an outstanding 97.92mpg driving a Honda Civic Tourer.
Winners in the first electric vehicle class were Jerry Clist and co-driver Peter Thompson in a Nissan LEAF, whose performance equated to an astonishing 249mpg in a comparable diesel car, at a cost of just 2.6p per mile.
Electric and hybrid vehicle classes will again be included in this year’s event, and they will be joining the more familiar diesel and petrol engined cars and vans that traditionally take part in the event.
There are eight main classes of passenger cars in this year’s MPG Marathon, restricted to a maximum carbon ceiling of 190g/km, including hybrid, range-extender and fully electric vehicles, plus five main classes of vans up to 3,500kg gross vehicle weight.