To be part of automotive history, people can join ‘Project Splitwheel’ from its dedicated website, www.splitwheel.com. From here, members from all over the globe are able to submit ideas and concepts for every single aspect of the new Caterham and discuss and debate them with other users, before ultimately voting on what makes it to the final vehicle.
Initial registration for this revolutionary venture is now open with the Project set to start in earnest early in the New Year.
The Splitwheel.com website will use a combination of articles, blogs, forum discussion, a Wikipedia-style user-edited knowledge base and a comprehensive voting system to turn user input into a workable vehicle design. Along with acting as a liaison with Caterham’s engineering team, Project Splitwheel will also provide guidance and input from automotive industry experts as required.
Splitwheel will also factor increased environmental pressures by exploring alternative methods of propulsion, such as electric and hybrid, and crucially their desirability to drivers. Once the specification is agreed, Caterham Cars will seek to produce a prototype vehicle which could become an addition to its model range as early as 2011.
Starting from a blank sheet of paper and with very few restrictions in place, the result should be an exciting and truly unique performance vehicle.
As an added incentive to participants, Splitwheel and Caterham will offer plenty of opportunities to get ‘hands-on’, with members test driving and possibly even racing the development car.
“We are thrilled to be involved in what we believe to be the world’s first project of this type,” says Ansar Ali, Managing Director of Caterham Cars. “Creating a worthy stable mate for the iconic Caterham 7 is one of the greatest challenges in the automotive world and one which will be hugely exciting for enthusiasts to get stuck into!”
Project Splitwheel is the brainchild of automotive consultant Piers Drake, 31, from London.
“Cars are amongst the most hotly debated topics on the internet and for the first time we are going to channel some of that passion and energy into an exciting high-profile project with a real-world outcome,” says Drake. “Every petrolhead dreams of running their own sports car company. Project Splitwheel is effectively the world’s first ‘virtual’ car manufacturer and as far as possible we will be asking our members to call the shots, just as if they were running a marque themselves.”
“Every attribute and detail of the new vehicle will be decided by Project Splitwheel members, from the chassis and powerplant to styling, equipment and even the name. Importantly, the partnership with Caterham gives the Project access to engineering resources, facilities and expert knowledge to deliver this car from the internet and into the real world.”