Options, options everywhere

The Academy package is fairly well defined in the car you are getting and the specification of the major components. At the time of writing, you are signing up to buy a Caterham Roadsport with:

  • Caterham Academy Car1.6l Ford Sigma Engine running at 125bhp
  • 5 speed gearbox
  • 13″ Avon CR322 Academy Tyres
  • Lowered floors
  • Composite Race seats and harnesses
  • Race safety (full roll cage, plumbed in fire extinguisher and battery master switch)
In addition to the car, your money goes towards the ‘Academy Race Package’. This consists of:
  • ARDS Race Licence test and medical
  • Technical seminar
  • Setup day
  • Circuit test day
  • Car control clinic
  • Entry/Registation to 7 race rounds (3xSprint, 4xCircuit)
  • Timing transponder
  • Circuit guides
  • Head/Arm restraints

This spec doesn’t really change from year to year. The price just goes up – normally by £1000 or so! At the time of writing, the base spec costs £20,495 inc (self-build) or £23,495 inc (factory build).

In addition to the base spec, my trawl around the net and speaking to the sales representative, the additional options that are considered important for the Academy are:

  • Push button start (if you stall on track, you don’t want to be desperately finding the key to turn.) (£55 inc)
  • Momo, quick release steering wheel (£300 inc)

The sales guy also said he recommends the weather pack, which includes doors, hood and heated windscreen (£510 inc).

From what I’ve read around blogs to date, some people opt to just run side doors for aero efficiency. Also, a lot of the cars on the grid go for the plain aluminium body with coloured composites (nose cone and wheel arches). This means that if you want to stand out a little more on track, it’s a good idea to take up the pained body option. There are differing paint options from basic paint schemes (£1,150 inc) to Delux paint schemes (£1,950 inc). You can have a bonet stripe and nosecone band added if you want (£275 inc) or just a noseband (£105 inc).

I have read that the paint adds roughly 4lbs of weight to the car. As the Academy runs a minimum car weight, this isn’t likely to be an issue unless a) you’re over 90kgs and b) are really that good you can notice an additional 4lbs when circulating the track!

One thing to bear in mind is that race support only carry spares in black. Therefore, if you lose a wheel arch out on track, you’ll be left with an odd corner on your car if you’re not already running black composites!

There are viable car wrapping options available now – which help eliminate the stone chip problem. I haven’t looked into the cost of this for a Caterham.

I understand that the Tonneau cover is useful when the weather gets bad. (£180 inc).

Two additional costs to bear in mind.

Delivery is based on your location in relation to the Caterham Factory. I don’t have a full breakdown, but I believe the minimum cost is in the region of £100 and my delivery radius of about 40mins south of the M25 was £240.

IVA inspection, road tax, registration fees and number plates also have to be covered. If you have a factory built car, you can opt for a £535 option to include all these. Self-builders are likely to see a bill in the region of £800 to get all these boxes ticked.

So, in conclusion, the reality of the Academy is:

  • An absolute minimum of £21,395 inc (self build) and £24,130 inc (factory build).
  • A more likely cost of £21,950 inc (self) and £24,635 inc (factory)
  • If you go for basic paint scheme and the options most seem to opt for £23,790 inc (self) £26,475 inc (factory)

Next post will go on to look at additional equipment costs! We’re not quite done with money yet!

Aims for this blog

So, I’ve put the deposit down for the Caterham Academy 2013. It seems an awfully long way off at the moment. The 2012 season hasn’t even started yet!

Caterham Academy Logo

However, I have set up this blog to record my experiences of entering the championship, building the car and of running the car through the 7 rounds.

I want to document this time for my own gratification. I’ve been waiting a long time to get to the point where I race on track and the build up to this experience is just as important for me as the action will be when the lights go out.

Secondly, I’ve spent a while, so far, trawling around the net for blogs and information on the Academy. As ever, there is an initial thirst for information and I have to say that, although there is information out there, it’s not all in once place and is often not up to date. Even the downloadable order form on the main Caterham website isn’t up to date!

There are some build diaries hanging around from back in 2003/4 that contain really interesting and useful pointers and tips. However, there is absolutely nothing to say that these tips/experiences are even relevant any more.

The plan is therefore to combine and present good resources that I find/uncover/ask Caterham/ask the community about, along with my own experiences and, fingers crossed, end up with something that will help others in a similar position, or indeed those looking to get themselves involved.

Once each stage of the process is complete – prepare; build; practice; compete – I want to go back and make note of anything that I would have done differently given the time again.

I want to also document the costs that this seasons racing attracts, including the running costs of taking part all year. This information just isn’t available out in the wild on the net. You get snippets here and there, but you have to take a bit of a blind leap into racing and hopefully, I can reveal a real world experience.

There doesn’t currently appear to be a central community for Caterham Academy racers. I can see that there are fractured past websites. But they look out dated and unloved.  Perhaps more time searching around will uncover a gem of a community that I can share and get involved in.

Taking to the track with the Caterham Academy