Which Caterham Series?

Which Caterham Series?

Author
Discussion

gbrown2014

169 posts

80 months

Tuesday 11th May
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Forgive the slight thread derailment, I am a step further back in the fact I have never driven on track, I have been a passenger on quite a few tracks, most recently doing a few laps of Silverstone in a radical, that got me hooked on trying something for myself.

The guys I was with recommended caterhams as a good place to start, I have done some research on arrive and drive companies that will give you an hour of track time with an instructor, has anyone used Want2 Race before?

They have a Caterham Roadsport and offer days at most tracks for £450 with a hour of track time, is this competitively priced? my research suggests this is the best option but stumbled across this thread and thought why not ask!

Have to mention my road car couldn't go anywhere near a track and I would prefer an instructor, hence me going down this route as a starter

Thanks for the valuable info on this thread

RichieG1

33 posts

116 months

Monday 24th May
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WP999 said:
Thanks Nampahc Niloc. I've just checked and re-read (again! sure it will eventually sink in) and the 7series has 270R running with 310R. Mag7 are definitely different classes as is CGRC. So I think it's 310R and have as good chance as anyone in the three series or 270R and be down on power and without an LSD in 7Series but with equal cars in Mag7 and CGRC...
I think you're mixing up classes and grids. In CGRC the 270R equivalent have their own grid at the moment, with the Sigmax and 150 (310R) classes sharing the other grid. Magnificent Sevens have a single grid across all classes, Seven series have 270R and 310R classes on one grid, and the 420R class on another, I think.

I'm in the same position as you - looking at a start in 2022 - I think in a 270R or 310R but still undecided - I've been tracking an R400 quite extensively for 3 years so the idea of dropping down in power to 270R level and losing my LSD is concerning me too - though I accept it might be a better learning curve to start racing in something a bit slower.

cashmax

826 posts

207 months

Tuesday 25th May
quotequote all
RichieG1 said:
WP999 said:
Thanks Nampahc Niloc. I've just checked and re-read (again! sure it will eventually sink in) and the 7series has 270R running with 310R. Mag7 are definitely different classes as is CGRC. So I think it's 310R and have as good chance as anyone in the three series or 270R and be down on power and without an LSD in 7Series but with equal cars in Mag7 and CGRC...
I think you're mixing up classes and grids. In CGRC the 270R equivalent have their own grid at the moment, with the Sigmax and 150 (310R) classes sharing the other grid. Magnificent Sevens have a single grid across all classes, Seven series have 270R and 310R classes on one grid, and the 420R class on another, I think.

I'm in the same position as you - looking at a start in 2022 - I think in a 270R or 310R but still undecided - I've been tracking an R400 quite extensively for 3 years so the idea of dropping down in power to 270R level and losing my LSD is concerning me too - though I accept it might be a better learning curve to start racing in something a bit slower.
I currently race 270r (135) in CGRC. The laptimes are 2-4s different between 270 vs 310, depending on the circuit. My advice would be if you are used to a LSD car, then stick with it and if you are used to open diff, stick with that. The driving styles are quite different and some folks who upgraded to 310 from 270 have found it quite tricky to adjust. In summary, stick with what you know for the first season.

CharlesElliott

979 posts

249 months

Tuesday 25th May
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You have a number of good options, and all the series are well run (myself and Roger Ford ran the CGRC for a few years so I declare a vested interest). I would suggest you go along to a couple of races and see what 'feels' best for you.

Although they are mixing it up a bit more now, the CGRC has historically had full weekend events - Friday test, Saturday quali and race, Sunday race, whereas 7 Series keeps to Saturday / Sunday. Some people like making a weekend of it, others want to minimise time off / away. Having said that CGRC now has some one or two day events as well.

EDIT: Although in the past most people signed up for a 'championship' and stuck with it, these days lots of people do a few CGRC races and a few 7 Series races (and maybe a few Mag 7 races as well). So there is no need necessarily to pick just one - you can select the tracks / events / dates that work best for you if you want.

justleanitupabit

165 posts

74 months

Tuesday 25th May
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RichieG1 said:
I think you're mixing up classes and grids. In CGRC the 270R equivalent have their own grid at the moment, with the Sigmax and 150 (310R) classes sharing the other grid. Magnificent Sevens have a single grid across all classes, Seven series have 270R and 310R classes on one grid, and the 420R class on another, I think.

I'm in the same position as you - looking at a start in 2022 - I think in a 270R or 310R but still undecided - I've been tracking an R400 quite extensively for 3 years so the idea of dropping down in power to 270R level and losing my LSD is concerning me too - though I accept it might be a better learning curve to start racing in something a bit slower.
Have you got a race license already? (apologies - I've not read the entire thread).

If not and you go to 270 or 310 spec in any of these series as a complete novice I'm 99.9% you'll get destroyed and possibly be disheartened.


I had an R400 - went to the Caterham Academy - in my Academy car I went faster everywhere.

I'd suggest you start in the Academy - if you've done a bit already then 270r is doable.

RichieG1

33 posts

116 months

Tuesday 25th May
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justleanitupabit said:
Have you got a race license already? (apologies - I've not read the entire thread).

If not and you go to 270 or 310 spec in any of these series as a complete novice I'm 99.9% you'll get destroyed and possibly be disheartened.

I had an R400 - went to the Caterham Academy - in my Academy car I went faster everywhere.

I'd suggest you start in the Academy - if you've done a bit already then 270r is doable.
I'm worried you might be right, but I'm also worried about being a bit bored in the lower powered cars. I have never held a race licence, my experience consists solely of 30 track days in the last 3 years.

My R400 is an SV and only runs 204bhp on the standard plenum, it weighs 580kg before I get in it so it's a good 80kg over an S3 race car.

I managed 53.1 at Brands Indy last week, which is only three tenths off the 310R lap record in the Caterham series, and four tenths ahead of the Grads 150 record, this on 2017 Avon ZZS tyres. I think that might mean I'm quickish, but there's only one way to find out. I'm genuinely torn.


Edited by RichieG1 on Tuesday 25th May 21:12


Edited by RichieG1 on Tuesday 25th May 21:15

CharlesElliott

979 posts

249 months

Tuesday 25th May
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That does seem quite quick, but your car does have 50 bhp (which is 33%) more than a 310R.....on Yokohama A048 tyres, the lap record for a Sigmax (310R without VVT) is 52.46.

In CGRC (and in 7 Series) there are a range of drivers from slow to very quick. So whatever pace you actually have you will find a challenge.


sevensfun

730 posts

3 months

Tuesday 25th May
quotequote all
RichieG1 said:
I'm worried you might be right, but I'm also worried about being a bit bored in the lower powered cars. I have never held a race licence, my experience consists solely of 30 track days in the last 3 years.

My R400 is an SV and only runs 204bhp on the standard plenum, it weighs 580kg before I get in it so it's a good 80kg over an S3 race car.

I managed 53.1 at Brands Indy last week, which is only three tenths off the 310R lap record in the Caterham series, and four tenths ahead of the Grads 150 record, this on 2017 Avon ZZS tyres. I think that might mean I'm quickish, but there's only one way to find out. I'm genuinely torn.


Edited by RichieG1 on Tuesday 25th May 21:12


Edited by RichieG1 on Tuesday 25th May 21:15
It should be possible to hire for a race to see where you really fit before you take the plunge....?

RichieG1

33 posts

116 months

Wednesday 26th May
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That's a good shout sevensfun - do you know which of the teams may have 150/310R spec cars for hire?

HustleRussell

19,653 posts

127 months

Wednesday 26th May
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RichieG1 said:
justleanitupabit said:
Have you got a race license already? (apologies - I've not read the entire thread).

If not and you go to 270 or 310 spec in any of these series as a complete novice I'm 99.9% you'll get destroyed and possibly be disheartened.

I had an R400 - went to the Caterham Academy - in my Academy car I went faster everywhere.

I'd suggest you start in the Academy - if you've done a bit already then 270r is doable.
I'm worried you might be right, but I'm also worried about being a bit bored in the lower powered cars. I have never held a race licence, my experience consists solely of 30 track days in the last 3 years.

My R400 is an SV and only runs 204bhp on the standard plenum, it weighs 580kg before I get in it so it's a good 80kg over an S3 race car.

I managed 53.1 at Brands Indy last week, which is only three tenths off the 310R lap record in the Caterham series, and four tenths ahead of the Grads 150 record, this on 2017 Avon ZZS tyres. I think that might mean I'm quickish, but there's only one way to find out. I'm genuinely torn.
I disagree with leanitupabit. I think 270r or 310r are perfectly valid places to start. As a novice you should expect to get roundly beaten wherever you go. Amateur motorsport is generally at least 40% disheartenment all throughout.

Richie, bored you won’t be. Racing a car is a very different experience from track daying one. If you fear that you’re going to buy a 270r and then find it too easy, don’t. An open diff actually adds a level of challenge to the driving.

CharlesElliott

979 posts

249 months

Wednesday 26th May
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I agree with HustleRussell! (Hi James!)

HustleRussell

19,653 posts

127 months

Wednesday 26th May
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Hi Charles wavey

Plus Andy A, Matt and any other Grads people I might know.

RichieG1

33 posts

116 months

Wednesday 26th May
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Thanks all, really appreciate the advice. I certainly don't expect to be anything other than roundly beaten as a novice. My takeaway's so far;

- Starting without a windscreen and lights isn't insane
- Sticking with an LSD as I've learnt to drive with one could be sensible (and buying a 310 avoids the upgrade costs from 270 later)
- Grads might be a less frenetic place to start than official, with more focus on driving standards

I've run up a spreadsheet that compares costs between Official Caterham, Grads, Seven Series & Magnificent Sevens and they all seem fairly comparable with only £800 between them over a season.

Not planning on rushing the decision, so will keep gathering info, and look to get into a race car toward the end of summer. Still have 8 track days booked for this season to focus on for now.

Thanks again for the advice from the seasoned racers!

justleanitupabit

165 posts

74 months

Wednesday 26th May
quotequote all
HustleRussell said:
RichieG1 said:
justleanitupabit said:
Have you got a race license already? (apologies - I've not read the entire thread).

If not and you go to 270 or 310 spec in any of these series as a complete novice I'm 99.9% you'll get destroyed and possibly be disheartened.

I had an R400 - went to the Caterham Academy - in my Academy car I went faster everywhere.

I'd suggest you start in the Academy - if you've done a bit already then 270r is doable.
I'm worried you might be right, but I'm also worried about being a bit bored in the lower powered cars. I have never held a race licence, my experience consists solely of 30 track days in the last 3 years.

My R400 is an SV and only runs 204bhp on the standard plenum, it weighs 580kg before I get in it so it's a good 80kg over an S3 race car.

I managed 53.1 at Brands Indy last week, which is only three tenths off the 310R lap record in the Caterham series, and four tenths ahead of the Grads 150 record, this on 2017 Avon ZZS tyres. I think that might mean I'm quickish, but there's only one way to find out. I'm genuinely torn.
I disagree with leanitupabit. I think 270r or 310r are perfectly valid places to start. As a novice you should expect to get roundly beaten wherever you go. Amateur motorsport is generally at least 40% disheartenment all throughout.

Richie, bored you won’t be. Racing a car is a very different experience from track daying one. If you fear that you’re going to buy a 270r and then find it too easy, don’t. An open diff actually adds a level of challenge to the driving.
I agree with your last sentence entirely - but starting in the Academy means everyone will be a 'novice' or at least not done any racing........

Personally I'm glad I started where I did....

Actually I've just realised who this is...... Richie......talk to Theo......

RichieG1

33 posts

116 months

Wednesday 26th May
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Now I'm at a disadvantage because I'm not sure who you are (Ryan?) been chatting with Theo a lot on Messenger and fully intending to pick his brains later in the year as we're at Silverstone on a TD in November...

cashmax

826 posts

207 months

Wednesday 26th May
quotequote all
RichieG1 said:
I've run up a spreadsheet that compares costs between Official Caterham, Grads, Seven Series & Magnificent Sevens and they all seem fairly comparable with only £800 between them over a season.
That might be the cost to race, but the cost to be competitive is a very different thing. Grads driving standards goes some way towards minimising this because they simply won't tolerate anyone who puts another driver in the position of having to avoid contact. Many drivers in Grads would be forced to give up if they chassised their car. It was the main reason I moved, because I no longer have to worry about being t-boned on turn in by a car that was 100m behind in the braking zone.

They also limit the number of tyres per season too, which makes quite a difference to cost and allow the use of pattern arches and wings.

CharlesElliott

979 posts

249 months

Friday 28th May
quotequote all
cashmax said:
That might be the cost to race, but the cost to be competitive is a very different thing. Grads driving standards goes some way towards minimising this because they simply won't tolerate anyone who puts another driver in the position of having to avoid contact. Many drivers in Grads would be forced to give up if they chassised their car. It was the main reason I moved, because I no longer have to worry about being t-boned on turn in by a car that was 100m behind in the braking zone.

They also limit the number of tyres per season too, which makes quite a difference to cost and allow the use of pattern arches and wings.
As a former Driving Standards Team member I would have to agree! We do get a lot of drivers moving to CGRC because of driving standards, but all series have ups and downs although some (like Grads) are trying to keep their standards higher than others.

sabid

76 posts

138 months

Wednesday 23rd June
quotequote all
RichieG1 said:
Thanks all, really appreciate the advice. I certainly don't expect to be anything other than roundly beaten as a novice. My takeaway's so far;

- Starting without a windscreen and lights isn't insane
- Sticking with an LSD as I've learnt to drive with one could be sensible (and buying a 310 avoids the upgrade costs from 270 later)
- Grads might be a less frenetic place to start than official, with more focus on driving standards

I've run up a spreadsheet that compares costs between Official Caterham, Grads, Seven Series & Magnificent Sevens and they all seem fairly comparable with only £800 between them over a season.

Not planning on rushing the decision, so will keep gathering info, and look to get into a race car toward the end of summer. Still have 8 track days booked for this season to focus on for now.

Thanks again for the advice from the seasoned racers!
Its tough working out whats for the best, given you can't really experience all the options until you're pretty much committed! Sounds like you're keen to keep the power your used too in your track day car which is understandable - as racing a slower, less advanced, less powerful car logically might feel like a step backwards from where you are?

It is possibly a bit hard to imagine right now but FFW I'd echo the others comments about that not really mattering once you step into racing a car. Nothing really compares - the nerves, the joy of a great overtake, a race long battle of wits, the pride that you put yourself out there and gave it your all. What you are driving - I think - doesn't really matter ... ie. corporate karting in old rubbish karts can still be great fun - because its about the racing not about the vehicle. With a track day car the balance of importances is slightly different i.e. a faster, more advanced car, will likely give you more enjoyment from your track day.

Whatever car you choose, your challenge as a driver in racing becomes simply working out how to get the most from what you have under you - in whatever conditions you find yourself in (i.e. dry/wet, cold/hot etc)

I used to race Locost - another 7 style car with only 85bhp! From the outside the racing does look really slow but when you are in them - it is anything but!

FYI I converted it to a Ma7da - 145bhp, stickier tyres etc - for similar reasons as you're considering with the Caterham classes. It worked and the car is about 10 seconds a lap faster around Donington than as a Locost (now does 1:20 on nat circuit v 1:30 before). To compare to your earlier time around Brands the lap record is in 54's (although I coached a guy to a pole in 53.9) ... so comparable to what you're used too.

Interestingly though, the racing challenge remains largely the same!

Yes the car has slightly better aero and more power that - I feel - has improve the racing eg there is a better balance of pure pace v slipstreaming (Locost is v extreme for it being all about the slipstream) ... But what I noticed more - as a driver - was not really the extra speed but the tyres (A048s). Specifically how they behave at / over the limit (they are WAY more fun!) ... Plus the extra grip means my fitness is slightly more challenged (!) ... but the power? Not really.

I thought I'd share my experiences as whatever you choose to race, it will be the right choice!

Clearly your spreadsheet is big enough already but maybe also check out the Ma7da or Locost's too if you are after a 7 style car racing. More info here https://www.750mc.co.uk/formulae/ma7da.htm

Hope this helps you along a little with your thinking. Be sure to let us know what you decide to do!