For four decades, the Caterham Seven has been turning heads and packing large servings of performance into a very small package. This weekend, at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Caterham Cars is unveiling the slightly mad Caterham Seven 620 R, which will be put through its paces by F1 Team driver Charles Pic and other drivers from the Caterham stable. Built to celebrate 40 years of the Seven, Caterham says that it’s the most extreme version in the lightweight, high-performance line ever produced.

Replacing the Superlight R500 as top of the line, the 620 R continues the Seven's emphasis on light weight, accessibility, and minimalism, but pours in more horsepower and torque than any Seven has a had to handle before.

The 620 R has a new gunmetal chassis with carbon-fiber wings, roll bar, an air-flow optimized nose cone and a race-developed cooling package. The supercharged, two-liter Ford Duratec pushes 310 bhp (231 kW) through a six-speed sequential gearbox with flat-shift to give the 545 kg (1,201 lb) vehicle 219 lbs/ft (30 Nm) of torque. Top speed is 155 mph (249 km/h) with acceleration pegging 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 2.79 seconds.

Up front there's wide-track front suspension with adjustable double wishbone and in the rear there’s a De Dion axle on a lower A-frame and Watts linkage. Both front and rear suspension units have high performance dampers all round, as well as disc brakes with ventilated front discs and quad piston calipers.

Inside the 620 is what Caterham refers to as “high-performance focused instrumentation and ergonomic switchgear,” which means that it’s a pretty basic layout of dials and levers and not much more. There are also carbon-fiber interior panels and dash and carbon-fiber race seats with four-point race harnesses and a Q/R Race wheel for the rack and pinion steering.

Though Caterham have made the 620 R the centerpiece of its Goodwood stand, the company does admit that it is an awful lot of power in a very small package. “While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this car for those inexperienced in driving Caterhams, we always ensure that even our fastest cars retain the manageable delivery of power that makes them accessible, despite the daunting statistics,” says Caterham Cars CEO, Graham Macdonald.

Caterham says that it will be offering a less daunting version of the 620 with an “S” package later this year. Meanwhile, the 620 is selling for £49,995 (US$75,900) fully built.

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