Caterham Graduate Racing
Posted 07 September 2018 - 10:24 PM
I was also at Anglesey last weekend...I've only been there once in the VX and never in the Caterham but we decided to make a bit of a holiday of it and booked a holiday cottage with my parents. The key was not to spoil everyone's holiday by chucking the car in the wall!
In practice on Friday I was happy with my times (low 1:17's and dipping into the high 1:16's) and seemed to be on the pace of the MEGA class but 20 minutes ahead of qualifying on Saturday morning it was wet with drizzle in the air. Not my favourite conditions! On went the new tyres I've been saving for just such an occasion and pumped up the pressures a bit.
By the time I'd sat in park perme and we got going, the drizzle had stopped and the track was drying. It's only a 15 minute session and we share the track with the classics which can make it difficult to get a clean lap however I found some space and felt like I'd managed a few good laps even though the tyres were now over inflated and squirming around.
Back into parc ferme and I found out I was on the front row for race 1 in 2nd place - I then found out that I bagged pole position for race 2! BUT the difference between 1st place and 8th place was UNDER 0.5s - it clearly wasn't going to be a race where I would be able to drive away from the pack (it never is in Caterham racing!).
I had a perfect start from the front row and got into the lead through turn 2. Back to 2nd place down the back straight with a bit of slip-streaming but then worked with 1st place man to get a break from the pack. A spin behind helped us make the break.
After 5 minutes I was in a comfortable 2nd place, 0.5s behind 1st place and feeling comfortable with the pace. Rather than risk losing my 2nd place by fighting for the lead I took the steady approach to bring it home in 2nd for my best finish ever!
Race 2 was on sunday afternoon and once again it was drizzling just before we were due out - just what I wanted for my first pole start. However, the rain stopped and the start was delayed so by the time we got out the track was dry!
I lead the green flag lap for the first time and lined up on pole position. Lights out and I made an OK start but lost the lead into turn 2. I was so focused on the car in front of me that I was in the wrong gear and lost another 2 places, over the course of the next few laps I dropped and gained places getting as far down as 6th at one point but fought back to a podium finish in P3. I've added some comments into the video so will let you watch the footage..
I really, really enjoyed the racing in race 2 and was over the moon to get both a double podium and my first pole position - I just need to find the top step in the race now!
Here's highlights of race 2:
Edited by Captain Vimes, 07 September 2018 - 10:25 PM.
Posted 07 September 2018 - 11:52 PM
Watched your race live and saw you were swapping and changing although it only updates crossing the line.
Posted 08 September 2018 - 10:59 PM
Thanks Mark, Mega's are definitely the best class for good clean, close racing
Edited by Captain Vimes, 08 September 2018 - 11:04 PM.
Posted 08 September 2018 - 11:36 PM
Right, I've been trying to figure out how to get pictures to work with Flickr, think I've figured it out so here's a couple of pics from the weekend:
Action shot on the way to 2nd place:
Trophy collection from the weekend:
After a successful weekend the championship has opened up nicely.... I've been 3rd in the championship for a while now based on total points but the final championship positions exclude your worst 3 results. On the amended basis I'm 5th but the gap to 4th and 3rd are now within reach (1 and 4 points away resp.).
The final race is at Spa, which is a circuit I've always wanted to drive but have never been to unfortunately every driver ahead of me in the championship has raced there previously so the chances of me taking enough points from them is pretty remote. Still, you never know!
Edited by Captain Vimes, 08 September 2018 - 11:41 PM.
Posted 10 October 2018 - 08:55 PM
So, we had the last race of the year at non other than Spa!
Main thing to say is, what a bloody great circuit! Great to drive but even better to race on.
The race was opened up to other racing Caterhams for this round so we had a real mix of cars with the (theoretically) fastest being the 'Sigmax VCT' (150bhp, LSD, no screen AO48 tyres) through to the slowest being the Classics (old 8v 100bhp cars on road tyres). In total there were 59 cars on the grid and we all race together at Spa!
We had two, 30 minute free practice sessions on the Friday but having never been to Spa before I spent the first session trying to remember which corner was which, trying to ignore the damp in the air and stay out of the gravel. We lost a few laps with a red flag (nose cone fell off one of the cars) but my lap times improved from 3:14 down to 3:02 (lap record is 2:51).
For the second free practice session, I quickly got under the 3 minute mark with some consistent 2:58's before another red flag halted play. We got one more flying lap and I got a 2:56. My goal for the day was to get near to a 2:55 so with circa 15 full laps completed I was happy with how it was going, loving the circuit and starting to sort out gears, turn-in points etc.
With such a long lap (circa 3 mins) we were only ever going to get a max of 10 laps in the 30 minute qualifying session. I missed a trick though... all of my championship rivals got their car down to the holding area over an HOUR early to secure the best chance at qualifying. Ensuring that they would be able to get a nice slipstream down the straights behind the Sigmax VCT's and avoid the slower classics. I didn't and started towards the back of the 59 cars all heading out for qualifying and jostling for position. The chances of getting a clean lap without tripping over a slower car AND picking up a decent slipstream were low.
I wasted a few laps as well - on one lap I went into Eau Rouge too quick (wrong line in hindsight) had a 100mph+ slide and used the run off area - which meant my lap was disallowed. On my best lap, I was up on time but caught 3 slower cars coming into the bus stop and lost a couple of seconds. My best however was still quicker than FP2 as I managed a 2:54. Down the grid from my championship rivals with a good number of cars from the 'faster class' separating us.
Footage below so I'll keep it brief.
I was most worried about 59 cars all barreling into LaSource. If you've seen F1 mess this up time and time again, you'll understand why I was a little nervous especially as there were more than twice as many of us, double stacked on the grid and we're not exactly F1 drivers. In the end it all went off smoothly.
The 'faster' Sigmax VCT's that I had beaten in qualifying launched off the line and took places but I did manage to get along side and past one of my MEGA class rivals on the opening lap but then got shuffled back... I ended up in a real battle for half the race with a Sigmax racer. We must have passed and re-passed a dozen times. We both got out the car, shook each others hands and had a laugh about it. Honestly one of the most fun races I've had!
Position didn't seem to matter but for the record I started 34 (of 59) and finished 33 (or 6th in my class)... Unfortunately there was a pretty major accident in the last 10 mins of the race which saw 2 cars written off after a coming together at the very fast Pouhon. Fortunately no one seriously hurt.
I qualified less well for race 2 and started in 38th, I was also down in my class qualifying just 8th of the 11 starters. Fortunately I was surrounded by 3 cars in my class on the grid so the aim was to make up class places. Well I did that and more... In just 15 minutes of racing I managed to get from 38th to 28th (27th after a disqualification of the guy in 1st place) and from 8th in class to 5th, beating all the class cars around me.
Unfortunately there was another big accident.... In the early laps, oil was dropped at the end of the Kemmel straight and then 15 minutes into the race there was an accident on the oil which ruptured fuel tanks and coated the track in more fluid. The safety car came out and we followed while the marshals cleared the accident and treated the track. Unfortunately we ended under the safety car so there was no more chance to make progress...
Video's below. I'll follow up with a year summary and championship result!
Edited by Captain Vimes, 10 October 2018 - 09:05 PM.
Posted 11 October 2018 - 10:16 AM
Posted 11 October 2018 - 06:26 PM
The person I feel most sorry for though was a Mega driver who crashed into the car in front whilst behind the safety car and bent the chassis.
Posted 24 January 2019 - 08:50 PM
Summary of the season condensing all 16 rounds in to 8 mins:
Posted 24 January 2019 - 09:39 PM
If anyone wants to find out more about racing a Caterham we're having a pre-season track day at Silverstone on 17th March.
Passengers are free, there will be around 60 Race Caterhams there from the various classes, the race teams are there to answer questions plus the usual friends and family making the paddock a friendly place to be. If we're lucky there might even be some free Tea, Coffee and cake as well.
All welcome, come along have a chat, grab some passenger rides and find out what it's all about.
If you want to get on track in your VX there's also space in the 'non-Caterham' group available as well: https://torquemotors...rham-and-other/
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