We’re now over half way through the LONG winter off season. That means attention is now firmly planted on another year of Caterham Motorsport. And it looks like it’s going to be a bumper season across all the 5 official championships.
The Caterham Academy have already had their first get together, attending the opening seminar so the Caterham team can pass on vital information for the upcoming year. It’s also the first opportunity for the competitors to have a look at the faces that will become all too familiar over the coming years racing!
Some of the class of 2015 have already been out on track, getting in some early practice and the remaining contenders won’t be far behind now. Will this early practice help when the real racing begins? Only time will tell – and that’s the beauty of the Caterham Academy Championship. Everyone goes in with a blank slate and it’s not always the obvious choices that come out on top of the pile.
Some of the class of 2015 have been out practicing. Will this help when the real racing begins? Only time will tell.
The opening sprint events don’t always offer a final representation of racing form, so it won’t be until Rockingham in June that things will slowly begin to play out.
A good portion of the 2014 Caterham Academy are taking the step up to the Caterham Roadsport championship. The two previous years Academy groups being combined to form one large grid.
There were 3 standout drivers across the 2 Academy groups in 2014 and Olly Wigg and Al Calvert will certainly be looking to continue their fierce rivalry. Their two cars were rarely apart through their first year and although Al eventually came out on top, Olly will be looking to remedy the situation after penalty points at Croft put paid to his impressive championship campaign.
Olly Wigg and Al Calvert will certainly be looking to continue their fierce rivalry. Their two cars were rarely apart through their first year
David Webber had it all his own way in his Academy group with nobody able to mount a consistent threat to his dominance. Paul Aram was often next along with Rob Ryder also featuring well. However, the final non-championship races at Silverstone last year, where both groups combined into one grid, left David Webber in the unusual position of looking at the back of cars and things didn’t go his own way. He’s certainly now got to prove whether he’s up to the task of fighting wheel to wheel for 20 minutes at a time. Can he take the pressure?
The longer race format and the double headers are also new to the Roadsporters and require a slightly more measured mentality to maintain consistency. Perhaps that will see some of the other front runners from 2014 moving up higher. Often, the time-gaps through the grid reduce dramatically in Roadsport and with the grippier tyres and stiffer setup on offer, some who didn’t get along with the more flexible Academy car will start to shine more.
David Webber had it all his own way in his Academy group with nobody able to mount a consistent threat to his dominance.
Anthony Barnes showed some good pace on occasion on a very limited testing schedule. Peter Rimer ended the season with a podium at Silverstone and if only he can stop getting caught up in other peoples accidents, he could yet move forward. Ben Wigg featured heavily at the front by the end of the year and will certainly be aiming for Wiggy one twos. Duncan Higgins could feature if he can keep consistent, rather than the boom / bust he suffered through 2014.
When Graham Williams and Steve McCulley continued to point the right way on track, they also made some rapid progress. Tarrant and Gascoyne-Day will likely be aiming to keep up the solid results and perhaps find the half second or so needed to keep in touch.
It will be fun to watch the progress from the banks and hear the stories in the bar afterwards.
Nearly all the 2014 Caterham Roadsport group are making the step up to Tracksport for 2015. With Will Smith jumping up to the Caterham Supersport category, there will be some more podium spots up for grabs this year. However, there are some new additions to the paddock, with Christian Szaruta and the father-son combo of Mike and Steve Evans sticking in the Tracksport category for a second year.
It was Jack Sales that ultimately won out, with a stunning tail end to the season after a ricky start to proceedings.
The lead pack regularly consisted of 10 cars during the Roadsport year. That leaves the exciting proposition of a pack of 12 possible winners for each and every race through 2015. And that’s assuming that someone in the midfield doesn’t suddenly make a jump forward.
2014 saw some tremendous battles and with the opening 4 races of the year resulting in 4 different winners, the year was always set to be close. However, it was Jack Sales that ultimately won out, with a stunning tail end to the season after a ricky start to proceedings.
Chris Hutchinson was rarely off the podium in 2014 but the top step remained elusive, with the only win of the year not being awarded on track, but instead in the scruteneering bay as Henry Heaton’s car was found to be outside of tolerance on the front camber.
Henry will be looking to come back stronger than ever in 2015. After the dream opening round at Snetterton turned sour and fortune didn’t favour him at Donington, his season was over almost before it had started. However, he is extremely rapid and always played a role at the front of the grid.
If early testing is anything to go by, Dan Gore is already enjoying the new spec. car and is turning in hugely impressive lap times.
Dan Gore finally put the pieces of the puzzle together at Brands Hatch last year. He’s always featured in races at the front, but never seemed able to dot the final ‘i’ or cross the final ‘t’. A dramatic turnaround at the end of the season saw Dan pushing for the lead on multiple occasions and really started to look like a contender. If early testing is anything to go by, he’s already enjoying the new spec. car and is turning in hugely impressive lap times.
Lee Bristow also had a stella 2014, pushing the lead on multiple occasions. Often times on the wrong end of an incident which put paid to his overall championship chances but his car control and harassing and continuous pressure on the cars in front of him will ultimately see more wins come his way.
Of the other 2014 Roadsport contenders making the jump to Tracksport, Tim Dickens was often a podium contender through 2014 and downright rapid on occasion. Will he be able to keep it on the track all year and finally take that deserved win at some point? Max McDonagh, James Houston and Richard Osgerby strongly positioned themselves in the front pack and all had shots a podiums. However, it was only Max that managed to convert, at Rockingham. They will all be looking for trophies in 2015.
After a rocky start, Christian Szaruta ended his second year in motorsport with fastest laps, lap records and, more importantly, wins against proven competition.
Of the new additions coming into the grid, Christian is starting only his second year of racing after having laid down a very impressive first year. After a rocky start, he ended the year with fastest laps, lap records and, more importantly, wins against proven competition. He’ll be quick out the blocks this time and looking to lay down a championship campaign.
Mike Evans season was cut short in 2014 after a car failure caused a nasty accident into the wall at Rockingham. Up to that point, Mike had learned to control the speed he had in the car and was always at the pointy end of the results.
The final likely addition to the front of the grid is Max Robinson. Back in the official Caterham championship after a stint in the Caterham Graduates series for 2014. Again, Max has featured at the front of grids so will be an unknown coming into the season and will certainly be aiming for podiums.
Addendum: Tragically, Pete Fortune passed away earlier this year. I’ve left this article unedited as he would have been one of the main championship contenders. Everyone in the Caterham family feels the loss. Rip Pete.
A massive entry list is a common feature of the Supersport category, and 2015 is no exception. With the expensive step up to the final Superlight R300 championship simply too big for many budgets, and with the Supersport car being the ultimate incarnation of the Ford Sigma engined Caterham and widely considered one of the best cars to drive and race, people tend to stick around for several years.
James Robinson was hugely impressive in his first year racing Caterhams. Jumping straight into the Supersport category and almost clinching the title is almost unbelievable.
Mike Hart was the 2014 winner. However, a great opportunity to race in the British GT championship came up and that grids gain is Caterham’s loss. We all wish Mike and Terry Langley well in 2015.
Of those returning, James Robinson was hugely impressive in his first year racing Caterhams. Jumping straight into the Supersport category and almost clinching the title is almost unbelievable. He’ll surely be looking to take the top step this year.
Jon Mortimer and Matt Dyer, who battled year long with Mike and James, are taking the step to Superlight R300’s for 2015, so there will be trophies up for grabs at the top of the pile.
Danny Killeen will be looking to get his hands on a few of them at the very least. His final 2014 championship position belies his speed and race-craft. An incomplete campaign and couple of on-track incidents meant he wasn’t ever going to be able to push for overall honours. However he has the additional motivation of being joined by a lot of his 2012 Academy graduates finally catching up with him on the grid.
Danny Killeen will also be one to watch in 2015. His final 2014 championship position belies his speed and race-craft.
Of those 2012 Academy graduates, Steve Nuttall is coming into the championship having won outright in the Academy, Roadsport and Tracksport. Can he make it four in a row and cement his place in the history books? You wouldn’t bet against it. He’s extremely quick, extremely consistent and has race craft to match.
Pete Fortune will be looking to put the ultimate disapointment of 2014 behind him. Always featuring at the sharp end, it always looked like the championship would come down between him and Nuttall. However, a missed round and an incident packed Brands Hatch event saw his challenge evaporate. He’ll be back in 2015 eager to try again.
Can Steve Nuttall make it four Championships in a row and cement his place in the history books? You wouldn’t bet against it.
Andres Sinclair also mounted a great campaign through 2014 having finally managed to tame the car. A well deserved win finally coming his way after 3 years trying. If he can convert his pace into more results in 2015, he’ll have good odds on a podium and an outside bet on the championship.
Nick Portlock got a very popular podium in the 2014 Tracksport championship. However, he’ll have to step up a gear to make his way right to the front of this highly competitive grid. He often came strong at the end of races in 2014 but with more cars filling the gaps on track, that won’t be as straightforward this year.
Another interesting addition to the 2015 Supersport grid will be Will Smith. Will has chosen to skip out the Tracksport season and go straight to Supersport. A painful end to the 2014 Roadsport championship, which saw him give away an almost certain championship win, will be spurring him on to big things in 2015. An absolutely rock solid presence at the front of an extremely competitive Roadsport grid also shows he has the race craft and pace to not just be a bit part. Certainly, it will be interesting to see how he gets on.
Caterham Superlight R300
The 2014 Superlight grid was small but high quality. It was bolstered by the addition of several high profile names taking part in the Caterham ‘guest’ car.
The 2015 registration is already stronger in numbers and Aron Head and David Robinson look set to go at it all over again.
The 2015 registration is already stronger in numbers and Aron Head and David Robinson look set to go at it all over again. Their battles were fierce all through the season and usually lasted the full 30 minutes of the race.
They won’t be joined by Terry Langley this year as he’s off to the British GT championship with Mike Hart. Also, Danny Winstanley has yet to commit to the series and will be missed if he heads elsewhere. He was an impressive debutant in his first full season of Caterhams last year and was always part of the lead battle.
Lee Wiggins put an impressive 2014 campaign together and was often the next up on the road behind the lead battle. Making it onto the podium on multiple occasions but never got to take the top step. The loss of Terry and Danny could see more podiums and perhaps he can pick up a win.
Sean Byrne will need to find some more 10ths if he is to continue his progress up the field.
Looking to step up this year will be Sean Byrne. He swapped teams part way through 2014 and by the end of the year was able to get involved in the lead battles. He’ll still need to find some 10ths to continue that progress as Robinson and Head will not be leaving anything in the locker.
Jon Mortimer is one person taking the step from Supersport to the R300’s in 2015. An uncompromising racer who will surely be able to get to grips with the extra speed and power of the top level car. You’d expect that he’d be happy with nothing less than a good hawl of trophies.
Matt Dyer is also making the jump up from Supersport. He had a great season in that highly competitive field and only gearbox issues at Croft prevented a podium championship finish. Matt may have to work on car setup more than he traditionally does in order to ensure he gets every last bit of time out of the car and himself. He’s notorious for simply driving around car issues, but will that be enough at the pinnacle of the Caterham Motorsport ladder?
Matt Dyer is notorious for simply driving around car issues, but will that be enough at the pinnacle of the Caterham Motorsport ladder?
There are others returning to battle and there will also be some new faces who will surely add to the excitement. With the advent of a separate class for H-Pattern gearbox cars this year, there may also be some more entries added before everything gets going on April 18th.