This made me giggle like a little girl on Saturday morning. After such a long period of waiting, things are almost within touching distance now.
Grubby (http://www.sevenracing.co.uk/) visited the Caterham factory to pick up some of his car bodywork ready for vinyl wrap[ping… whilst he was there, he snapped part of my car as well!!
So, here, in all its resplendent glory, is my very own engine. Apparently the chassis is off with the painters at the moment, so he couldn’t grab a pic of that. Many thanks Steve, it really did make my day!
I still don’t have confirmation of my delivery date yet, but I know that one of the Academy entrants has had confirmation that his car parts will be picked before 8th Sept for a pre-build of 2nd week of September… Given that person is slightly ahead of me in the queue (I think I was about the 15th entrant or thereabouts) that still looks like I might be on for a delivery date of late Sept/early Oct (which is what we were provisionally told.)
So, in order to keep busy, I’ve got together a few more of the tools I’ll be needing. I am now the proud owner of 4 Halfords 3T axle stands. With 3 tonnes, I could stack 6 Caterhams one on top of the other, but they were the highest ones available off the shelf at around 50cm at their highest. This should offer fair clearance for the days when I’m buried under the car or angling the car if I do decide to follow the manual and connect up gearbox/bell housing/engine ahead of dropping it into the car.
I also picked up a low range torque wrench (8-60Nm), again from Halfords. By gosh they are expensive tools :). That goes alongside my other torque wrench that covers the higher numbers.
I picked up a Bosch cordless drill/driver and bit set which were on offer. Fingers crossed it’s portable enough to poke into all the corners it will need to get to.
Finally, I also got a bag of disposable gloves for when things get messy.
It’s getting more real by the day at the moment and I go through equal measures of dread, excitement, regret (that I didn’t get Caterham to put it together), fear and joy.
The adventure is nearly here…
I’m going to make a sweep of the tool chest and try and see what I’m missing
After going along to the Snetterton Sprint event earlier in the year to get a feel for what to expect, I wanted to also get to a Race event as well to see if there were any particular differences. I also wanted to watch the racing as a fan!
It was also a great opportunity to meet up with a fellow 2013 Caterham Academy sign up Steve Grubb (Grubby – http://www.sevenracing.co.uk/) to have a natter, get excited and more importantly, get a lift to the track in his utterly bonkers Caterham.
This very unassuming lime green car looks like any other Caterham of course! Except this one is pretty much an R500 and is utterly, utterly brilliant. It goes so fast, my ears popped from the pressure change in the cockpit!
One thing’s for sure, Grubby will have to get used to less power in the Academy car!
At the track, we met up with a couple of other 2013 participants. Tom (another Tom!), who I’ve not met before, and Pete, who I briefly met at the Caterham Open Day over summer. Meeting other entrants makes everything even more real and also hints that things are slowly getting closer!
There really wasn’t any significant difference to the event setup, apart from the obvious scheduling differences and the change in everyones numbers – from their sprint numbers to their race numbers.
There were more cars queued up for Caterham to issue fixes and repairs as well through the day. Some more serious than others.
So, after initial sign on and scrpteneering, there was a driver briefing, qualification and then the races. Series co-ordinator Jenny keeping everyone under control as much as is humanly possible.
The racing was definitely cleaner than the Donnington event, with some really good close battles taking place through the field.
There were a few bumps and scrapes along the way – with some lost wings and lost exhausts – there were also a couple of mechanicals for people.
When you watch motorsport, all these things are completely par for the course, but when you have to start paying to put things back together, everything becomes far more poignant!
I’m glad I went along to see the setup and meet a few more people. I think that will be the last thing I attend now – up to the first seminar day for the 2013 group! I’ll obviously be keeping a close eye on things though 🙂
Here’s a great race through the field by Danny Killeen (Group 2, No.7) after his car was found to be under-weight in qualifying.
Another piece of the puzzle came together today. I wasn’t sure that I was definitely getting a trailer as it is a large block of cash on top of all the other costs. However, a second hand PRG Minisporter came up and so I balanced everything up and decided this was the time to make the jump. It’s actually off season for trailers as most are fully in use!
The PRG Minisporter is pretty much the smallest car transporter on the market. Caterhams or minis are really the only cars that will fit in! It’s roughly the size of a 4×4. For the Academy, the internal tyre rack and jerry can storage boxes are recommended. The minisporter is based around the uncovered PRG Minisport trailer. The other popular option is the Brian James Mino-Max. It is possible to attach the Minisporters GRP shell to a Brian James Mino-Max trailer as well.
Second hand, uncovered trailers come in around £1000 – £1500 and covered trailers come in around £3000 – £4000. New, uncovered start just over £2000 inc VAT and covered, between £5000 and £6000 inc VAT.
I had a fun day at Donnington last Saturday tootling around the GP track in a Book-a-track Caterham R300. Great fun and nice to get a feel for a Caterham, if only briefly. Shame about the sound – have to remember the external mic next time and bury it somewhere out the wind!
So, last Saturday, the 2012 Academy groups were at Donnington Park for their inaugural circuit race. It’s really the start of the season proper, as circuit racing is the end game for most peoples plans.
There are lots of videos online now from the two groups and it’s fun to watch each drivers progress through the races.
One take home from these videos: this is a beginners championship and there is a wide variety of skill, control and general speed on show. There were several incidents and accidents across the two groups and I believe that they could all be put down to inexperience. Of course, that often leaves at least one innocent party. However, everyone pays for their own repairs.
If you’re entering the Academy, or any racing for that matter, you must have an accident repair contingency fund. Whether that is partially supported by race insurance to help with ‘the big one’ is the normal risk/reward calculation.
It’s another place where you can easily bury your head and believe that if your careful, you will bring everything home in one piece. That’s simply not the case!
Having said that, there was some awesome racing on show as well. It’s not always the drivers who’ve had sprint race success that then translate through to the circuits, and that was in evidence to an extent last weekend.
Plans are, currently, to be at Brands Hatch for the next Academy meeting to cheer along and support this years group.
Looking forward to it, and hopefully I won’t get frightened off 🙂
I survived the traffic all weekend, although it did involve some late nights and very early mornings. It’s always worth it though. The weather was also interesting! From absolutely sodden to face burningly hot.
I took an absolute tonne of photos over the weekend, here are just some of them.