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/
Posted 27 March 2019 - 12:56 PM
Vimes are back in the saddle this weekend at Silverstone for race 1 of the championship, if anyone is coming along be sure to pop over for a chat (I'm car 26 and Vimes is 54)
Posted 23 April 2019 - 03:14 PM
Quick update from our Caterham Racing this year so far.
Last year I was thinking I would love to be in the top 10 as my best qualifying was 19th and best finish was 14th. Over the winter I did a few Caterham Drift days with Bookatrack to learn how to control my car beyond the limit and get comfortable sliding around. The two days I did were excellent and I highly recommend them to anyone wanting to learn advanced car control. The practice paid off as in our first race at Silverstone I posted two 11th places in qualifying. I held onto 10th for the majority of race one and was actively pushing the back end out to get a better turn in which I never would have been comfortable with in the past. Unfortunately I missed the last lap board and gave one of my competitors a bit too much room which allowed him to take 10th on the last lap (lesson learnt). I'n race two I was 11th again until I had a spin with five minutes to go (over inflated tyres, another rookie mistake ) and I finished 14th.
Before the next race I decided it was time to check the toe on the car and found that three of the four wheels were pointing in the wrong direction which serves me right for never having it properly setup.
On to the next race at Croft in which Vimes and I were for once on the same grid. With the wheels pointing in the right direction the car was immediately more stable and I posted two 9th place starts in quali seeing me two seconds ahead of my usual championship rival.
Lined up on the starting grid with Vimes one place behind me (He qualified first in his class) it was great to be right in the mid pack. Turn 2 had oil on it from the race just before ours so I was being a bit cautious and Vimes nipped up the inside. Fast forward 6 minutes and i managed to get back past with a combination of Vimes going a bit wide and me leaning on the LSD to get the best run out of the corner. He was in my mirrors for the next 10 minutes until I managed to drop the tow while we were battling through the back markers.
Great racing over the weekend and great results for me as I bagged two 9th place finishes. I suppose Kev did O.K. too with a double 1st and fastest lap in his class, well done mate
Edited by SteveA, 23 April 2019 - 03:24 PM.
Posted 23 April 2019 - 07:47 PM
You've made real progress this season Steve. Watching the race at Silverstone from the top of the 'wing' it was clear from the first race if the season that your confidence in wheel to wheel 'combat' is much higher than last year. Looking forward to seeing you push into the top 10 consistently by the end of the season!
Shame you're not at Snetterton on 5/6 May. There's less of an advantage for the LSD there... could have been a good race for us with all the classes on the same grid again!
As for my progress this year...
It started well at Silverstone on the International Circuit. In the first race I managed to get a 2nd place finish. In the second race I went one better getting my first ever win! Not only that, I managed to set a new lap record for the class. Given that the MEGA class has been running for 15 years and has had some VERY accomplished drivers over that time it was very satisfying to know that I'd managed to pilot a car of exactly the same spec round quicker than all of them!
Here's the second race, starting in P3 and quickly getting in to the lead but the long straights and a stiff breeze meant the slipstream was really effective and the following car managed to real me in. At which point it was a battle of strategy... my plan was to be in 2nd place as we started the last lap and use the slipstream to pass on the back straight to lead across the finishing line. Easily said but executing that plan wasn't going to be easy... it was a 25 minute race and we had back markers to contend with...
I'd only ever been to Croft once before (at a VX national) and never in the Caterham, so I was expecting to be a bit off the pace at the start of the weekend but it's a circuit that I seemed to click with and I was over a second quicker than the next MEGA in both qualifying and the races. The result was.... pole position, fastest lap, lead from start to finish with a lead of over 20 seconds to the next MEGA and the new lap record!. Pretty much the perfect result.
As we were sharing the grid with the faster classes the victory wasn't quite so obvious on the track but it was just as satisfying and nice to be able to race with Steve for a change!
Next round is Snetterton where a few faster MEGA drivers are back and we have a mixed grid again so it'll make for an interesting weekend!
(EDIT: Not sure how to get the youtube video to embed properly)
Edited by Captain Vimes, 23 April 2019 - 07:53 PM.
Posted 24 April 2019 - 08:31 AM
You must both be super pleased with yourselves.
Hope it continues for the rest of the season.
Keep the updates and videos coming, it's really interesting to hear how your getting on.
Posted 24 April 2019 - 09:21 AM
At Croft my fastest lap in quali was held up by a Classic in the complex and final corner, my data shows I lost 0.9 seconds because of it. If it was a clear lap I would have qualified 5th! The lap was a bit of an outlier so I never could have held the position in the race but it does show I have top 5 pace if I push harder and do it consistently. More seat time required
It is a pity I can't make Snett but it's my Wedding Anniversary and SWMBO would not be happy plus we are off on holiday a week later so it's probably for the best.
Thanks Chris, I'm really getting into it now and have already achieved my goal for the year of a top ten finish so onwards and upwards I hope.
Posted 03 July 2019 - 09:49 PM
Probably about time to update this thread as there's been another three rounds of racing since the last update! I'll start with Snetterton...
A track that I'm familiar with but one where there would be some stiff competition, especially from Luke who I battled with closely at Silverstone in the first race of the year.
In qualifying I managed to get pole position by 0.169s from Luke but for the second race I was to start 2nd on the grid by 0.047s. For context, the next closest MEGA grad car was about a second behind us both... It was going to be another close race between Luke and I! However due to lower numbers of cars racing this year we have mixed grids and they decided for this race that we would grid up in class. This meant we would actually start behind the 'faster class' despite the fact that were were faster than some of the back runners. It made for some interesting opening laps!
Opening laps of race 2 for context:
In the end I finished 2nd in both races to Luke but it was close! Here's the end of race 2 where I take back the lead on the last lap only to lose it again right on the finishing line by 0.015s! The margins are so small. I got past Luke after he made a very small error and it was a small error on my behalf that let him get back past. It was a great battle (which would have been even better if the result had gone the other way..).
Final lap of race 2.. losing by 0.015s:
Race report for Donington and Brands to follow...
Edited by Captain Vimes, 03 July 2019 - 09:59 PM.
Posted 25 February 2020 - 03:32 PM
So this year we have managed to convince Zoobeef to join us so we have three ex-VX owners racing in the same series, in the same class. We will have to start a VX220 racing team
Our first race in in just under a month at Silverstone, looking forward to getting back on the grid!
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