Here’s the first piece of news from Caterham, since Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and his Team Lotus comrades Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin bought over the maker of the Seven in April. Caterham will be setting up a standalone engineering business called Caterham Technology and Innovation Limited (CTI).

The new arm will be responsible for the development of an all new line of accessible and affordable sportscars inspired by the lightweight, minimalist philosophy of the Seven and drawing on the advanced technologies and materials from Team Lotus Formula 1 and Caterham Team AirAsia GP2. This includes unique vehicle architectures, high performance engines, advanced materials and manufacturing technologies.

Besides creating next gen Caterhams, CTI, which will be based in Norfolk near the Group’s motorsports operations, will also undertake projects for external companies from the automotive and aerospace sectors.

“The new shareholders are committed to investing in an exciting range of global products over the next 10 years. 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. 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,” said Mark Edwards, CTI’s CEO.

One of those will be Tony Shute, joining as Head of Road Cars. Shute is an avid motorsport competitor and is credited with bringing the ground-breaking Series 1 Lotus Elise to market. The S1 Elise is still considered by fans to be a purer drive than subsequent versions. “When the opportunity to be involved with creating the next iconic Caterham arose, I couldn’t turn it down,” says Shute.