Again, at the moment, this information is all gleaned from the web and asking questions. I hope to update it with reality, once I’ve been through it! My pain will be others gain.
So, we’ve established that you’re looking at a bill between £22k and £24k for the car and it’s options. However, it doesn’t stop there. You need tooling to bolt the thing together, somewhere to build it, somewhere to store it, fluids to get the thing ready to start and then, the reality is, that you likely need a trailer and paraphernalia to get it to race meetings and to keep it running while you’re there.
Let’s start with a trailer. Now, it is possible to drive your car to the race meet; race; and then drive back home. Which sounds great and if you’re local to a track, is viable as I understand it. However, with races as dispersed as Liverpool, Castle Combe and Brands Hatch, you can see that the distances mean you’ll likely not want to do this unless absolutely necessary. A lot of people, therefore, opt to trailer their car up to events.
Looking around, it appears that Brian James Trailers (specifically the Minno Max at £1,779+VAT new £900 – £1200 second hand) and PRG Trailers (Specifically the MiniSporter (£4,350+VAT new around £3,300 – £3,800 second hand) are popular choices. Both can, apparently, fit inside a standard garage. If you only have a driveway, then a good second hand covered trailer is perhaps the best backup. Hiring a garage varies by you’re location, but looks to be around £14 – £20 per week (£700 – £1000 per year).
Tooling and fluids sound insignificant – but from one blog I read from back in 2004, you can attract fairly high costs here as well. They documented nearly £650, although if you have a decent tool set already, this would be reduced a lot. Looking through the list, there are around £220 of kit that you’re unlikely to have unless you already tinker/work on cars. However, if you have no tooling already, then £650 isn’t far off the mark from the looks of it.
Although Caterham claim that a single set of tyres will last the season, and this is backed up by comment, this doesn’t account for additional road based and track based driving that you will want to do between events and ahead of the season. The consensus appears to be to have one set that you use specifically for the Academy racing and another set that go on at other times. This keeps the Academy tyres in good enough shape should it rain at any event (so you’ve got some tread left) and are also road legal at the end of the event (part of regulations I believe). The tyres themselves (Avon CR322) are not expensive, at £51 per corner. A spare set of wheels to put the tyres on are roughly £120 a corner new. (You need to make sure you buy the correct wheel/tyre as the regulations for the Academy are tightly controlled.
So, where does that leave us?
If you’ve got most of the tools already and don’t require a trailer, then £330 is should see you get the car filled with fluids and a spare set of tyres.
If you need a trailer, want a spare set of wheels/tyres to be able to swap and don’t have the full set of tools required, then you’re could easily be looking at an additional cost of between £2100 and £5000.
We’re still not done with money yet unfortunately. Next up is racing gear – helmets/suits and the like. We’ll save that for the next post.