A-Z Supercars: Caparo T1

Formula 1 levels of lightness and cornering power make the Caparo T1 unique

The dream: to build the world’s swiftest road-legal car. The car that could cover the distance between two points on road or track, through a combination of near paralysing acceleration, cornering and braking, faster than any other. It was called the Caparo T1 and, powered by a naturally-aspirated 3.5-litre V8 developing 575bhp, it boasted a power-to-weight ratio of 848bhp per ton (for reference, a McLaren F1 has 560). According to its makers, it was the closest anyone was going to get to piloting a modern F1 car without being a team driver.

Caparo Vehicle Technologies is a UK-based company at the cutting edge of advanced materials and engineering for not only automotive applications but also the aerospace industry. The T1, the creation of two ex-McLaren engineers, was intended as a rolling showcase for Caparo’s various areas of expertise.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

On paper, the performance claims looked outrageous: 0-60mph in 2.5sec, 0-100mph in 4.9sec, 0-100-0 in 8.5sec, 3G cornering, 3G braking. The key element was lightness – the T1’s kerb weight was about a third that of an average family saloon. The V8 engine – a joint development between Caparo and Menard Engineering – developed its 575bhp at 10,500rpm. Drive was directed to the rear wheels through a close-ratio sequential six-speed ’box made from magnesium and carbonfibre.

The T1 had its teething problems: it tried to set fire to Jason Plato and Clarkson declared it undriveable, which may have contributed to the fact that only around 20 have been sold. When evo tested it, we couldn’t match the performance claims, though 0-60 in 3.8sec and 0-100 in 6.2 is hardly shabby, but it’s the fastest road car ever on our test circuit. The T1 had fulfilled its remit and remains the most extreme and extraordinary car ever to wear a number-plate.


Years made 2007-Engine V8, 3500cc Max power 575bhp @ 10,500rpmTorque 310lb ft @ 9000rpm 0-60mph 2.5secMax speed 200mph+ Price £301,975 new, c£250-280,000 used


McLaren Senna

Five McLaren Senna GTR LMs in Le Mans liveries revealed

18 Sep 2020
Aston Martin

One-of-one Aston Martin Victor revealed – 836bhp Vulcan-based retrospective

4 Sep 2020
Porsche 911 GT3 RS coupe

New 992 Porsche 911 GT3 RS spied for the first time

26 Aug 2020

Lotus Evija hypercar delayed until mid-2021

25 Aug 2020

Most Popular

BMW 1 Series

BMW 128ti revealed as direct hot hatch rival to VW Golf GTI

BMW has revealed a simplified front-wheel drive hot 1-series called 128ti that will sit below the M135i performance flagship
16 Sep 2020
Nissan 370Z

Nissan Z Proto revealed – V6 twin-turbo, six-speed manual, and a catch

It’s the Nissan sports car we’ve been waiting 11 years for, but don’t hold your breath for it in the UK
16 Sep 2020
McLaren Senna

Five McLaren Senna GTR LMs in Le Mans liveries revealed

Celebrating 25 years since McLaren’s domination of the 1995 Le Mans 24hr with the F1 GTR
18 Sep 2020

Used car deals of the week

We’ve perused the used car pages so you don’t have to. Here’s what caught evo’s fancy this week
16 Sep 2020