Team Lotus has today (Wednesday) confirmed its acquisition of iconic British marque Caterham Cars - with Tony Fernandes promising to take the niche, low-cost sportscar manufacturer 'to new exciting horizons'.

Together with Team Lotus business partners Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin, Fernandes has purchased Caterham from a shareholder consortium led by Corven Ventures - with the stated objective of expanding the profile and product range of the legendary lightweight sportscar brand and providing it with a platform from which to apply its philosophy of 'adding lightness' to exciting new models for the 21st century.

"Caterham has a unique place at the heart of the motoring world," enthused the Malaysian entrepreneur. "As well as being proudly and staunchly British, it has an enviable and uniquely unblemished reputation within the industry for performance, handling and engineering excellence.

"Caterham Cars has remained wholly faithful to Colin Chapman's philosophy of 'less is more', and the DNA of the original Seven can still be traced to the newest additions to Caterham's product offering.

"It is already a successful business with sales across Europe, Japan, Australia and the Middle East, and under the guidance of the existing management team, we now have all the ingredients and the launch pad to further evolve that spirit and take Caterham to new exciting horizons with innovative products and greater global brand exposure."

With the ongoing development of the much-loved Caterham Seven - still today one of the most raced cars the world over, and the inspiration for the recently-launched Caterham-Lola SP/300.R - assured, the car based upon the two-seater, 'fit-for-purpose' racecar-for-the-road Lotus Seven pioneered more than half a century ago by original Team Lotus founder Chapman will continue to evolve.

Initially launched back in 1957, Caterham have been the custodians of the Seven since Chapman sold them the rights to the car 16 years later - and the new tie-up brings the wheel round full circle.

"This is yet another exciting chapter in the Caterham story," stated Caterham Cars managing director and former Lotus Cars executive Ansar Ali, the man responsible for energising the company's export prowess during the last five years, creating the iconic Superlight R500 - Top Gear's 'Car of the Year' for 2008 - and Caterham's first brand new model in 15 years, the SP/300.R sports prototype.

"Until now, the resources Caterham has had at its disposal have, naturally, limited the exposure of the Caterham experience, and the legendary Seven has had to rely almost entirely on its remarkable reputation and legacy.

"We will remain entirely true to the philosophy that we, as custodians of one man's motoring concept, have protected for nearly 40 years. However, the acquisition of the company by Team Lotus Enterprise will allow our existing management team to take Caterham's core spirit of pure driving enjoyment to a hitherto unserved audience.

"While the Seven will now have the global springboard it deserves and will continue to be evolved yet further, we also have the opportunity to expand the Caterham family beyond the Seven and SP/300.R and breathe new life into our uniquely respected brand and mature it into a truly global business."

With Fernandes' legal naming rights dispute with Group Lotus for the honour of carrying the Lotus moniker in F1 remaining unresolved - and a ruling expected from London's High Court next month - the new collaboration gives the AirAsia founder another string to his bow and another marque to promote should the outcome go against him.

It has been revealed that the following five web domain names were last week registered by Net Names, the same company that hosts Team Lotus' current domain: sonangolcaterham.com, sonangolcaterhamf1.com, sonangolcaterhamf1racing.com, sonangolcaterhamf1team.com and sonangolcaterhamteamlotus.com.

To see a video of the strikingly-liveried new Team Lotus/Caterham Seven, click here

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