F1 race team is revving up to produce motorcycles

Witney Gazette: Caterham’s Formula 1 test driver Heikki Kovalainen with a Caterham Classic E-bike. Caterham’s Formula 1 test driver Heikki Kovalainen with a Caterham Classic E-bike.

FORMULA 1 motor racing team Caterham is expanding its base at Leafield Technical Centre, following a move into the motorcycling world.

Fifteen obs have been created at the West Oxfordshire factory, which already employs 350 people, with the promise of more to come.

The new recruits will work on the firm’s motorcycle racing team which will compete in Moto 2, the second tier of interantional motorbike racing, next year.

Caterham, which moved from East Anglia to Oxfordshire last year, has also just unveiled prototypes of three motorbike models it plans to market next year.

It is possible this new venture may also be based at Leafield, although this has not been confirmed. The bikes will sell for between £2,500 and £8,500 and include the Brutus 750, which the company describes as “the SUV of motorcycles”, Classic E-Bike, a retro-looking electric bike and Carbon E-Bike, which is made from F1-style composite materials.

There are plans to expand this arm of the business by adding more models in the future.

Caterham took over the factory in Leafield which was once home to former F1 team Arrows, which closed down in 2002.

Caterham’s F1 team, which raced as Lotus in the 2010/11 season, and its niche sports car company, Caterham Cars, were brought under one roof through the move to Leafield.

Caterham spokesman Andy Bothwell said: “The project is in its nascent stages, so total investment is yet to be finalised but it will be a significant amount for the Caterham Group.’’

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