Listen to this article

The McLaren 570GT and the Caterham 620R are similar in some ways, yet each represents a very different approach to ultimate vehicle performance. Both offer seating for two, with power going exclusively to the rear wheels. Each car also boasts an impressive threshold for performance, but how each car gets there is quite interesting.

This recent video from Driven Media showcases that in a manner we've never seen before. Among other things, it's rare to see a Caterham lining up for a drag race. The lightweight sports car is designed to wrinkle corners on a race track, and in that role, the 620R has few rivals. With a weight of just 1,345 pounds (610 kilograms) and sticky tires for its balanced chassis, it sticks to the road like a legit race car. And with a supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 310 horsepower (231 kilowatts) under the hood, its power-to-weight ratio places it in supercar territory.

Gallery: 2018 McLaren 570GT Sport Pack

As for the 570GT, despite holding something of an entry-level status in the McLaren family, it's a terrifically capable machine with its twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 pumping out 562 hp (419 kW). It holds a significant power advantage, but whereas the Caterham is a bare-bones machine that doesn't even have a roof, the 570GT is a glorious grand touring supercar packed with features in a comfortable cabin. The price for that is a curb weight of 3,307 pounds (1,500 kilograms) – not heavy in a world of two-ton performance cars but certainly far beyond that of the Caterham.

In other words, the two machines stack up quite well when it comes to straight-line speed. In standing- and rolling-start drag races, both cars are surprisingly close with the difference really coming down to the driver. The Caterham holds a distinct disadvantage here, as it lacks driver assist systems like launch control. It also lacks anti-lock brakes, which gives the 570GT an advantage on the 0-100-0 test. The McLaren edges out the Caterham in these contests, though it could easily go the other way with a sharp driver in the 620R's driver seat.

We seldom see a Moose Test in performance videos, but this time around we're treated to a sampling of high-speed handling. As you'd expect, this is where the Caterham shines with its minuscule weight and sticky tires. It reached a staggering 100 mph in the test without striking any cones, though the backside was quite loose on the second lane-change maneuver. The McLaren 570GT also held an impressive line, but it could only achieve a clean run at 80 mph.

For enjoying regular visits to the track, it's hard to beat the Caterham. But for driving on a regular basis with the capability to blitz a weekend road-course outing, it's McLaren all the way.


Got a tip for us? Email: