My Race Car for 2010

ArosaMike

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OK. To answer a few questions.

Gearbox - It's a standard 5sp Ford Sierra box. The whine is the diff. Due to Caterhams....eherm....'character' some are noisier than others. Mine is probably average and is only really ear splitting at about 50-60mph :p

Top speed - A truely incredibly 112mph :p There's only so much an engine can do to overcome the aerodynamics of a brick!

Time to build - 50-70 hours for someone who knows how to spanner. 70-100 for someone who doesn't. 15-20 hours for someone who's made a few of them (or remade depending on how many times you crash :p) and has a proper car lift.

As for the transition from karts.....generally fine, although you have to unlearn some things. I think someone described it as a bit like driving a kart in the wet. Less agressive on the brakes and gentle transitions between controls. All things are relative though, and the familiar technique of keeping the thing in some sort of slide the whole time is pretty much the same. Handling characteristics are very kart like but with lower grip. Probably most similar to the lower power karts like TKMs. It's all about maintaining momentum.
 

_dexter_

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[YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOxHV6QfJkg[/YOUTUBE]
 

ArosaMike

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They had a lot of help doing that and it almost definitely took them longer than it made out. Two experienced technicians at Caterham Midlands can make one over a weekend. That's very quick though. 3 novices would realistically take 3 to 5 days flat out at an absolute minimum providing you had no 'shortages'. In reality you do (how on earth they can miss things like steering racks out of the kit is truly amazing!).
 

ArosaMike

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It's been a good while since I last updated this thread. Thought some of you might be interested to know the season has started. Had our first round at the historic Aintree circuit two weeks ago at the Liverpool Motor Club Spring Sprint. Very simple, but challenging 3 corner sprint course and some beautiful weather.

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Made a bit of a mistake on my first sprint run, but got myself together and set the fastest time by 0.02s on my 3rd and final! Very, very good start to the season, but it means I've got a lead to hold on to now :p Next round is Curborough sprint, followed by Snetterton Sprint, then thankfully it's on to the races...first one being Rockingham at the very beginning of July.

 

flyingfridge

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is it just me or are there road tyres under those guards? time for some semi slicks!!
 

Dr_Grip

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is it just me or are there road tyres under those guards? time for some semi slicks!!

I don't know but in most racing series, the choice of tires is regulated... Maybe you have to use a standard rubber.
 

ArosaMike

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I don't know but in most racing series, the choice of tires is regulated... Maybe you have to use a standard rubber.

Spot on. Since it's a novice series we have to run Avon CR322's which are basically an economy tyre which has fairly modest grip. Saying that, it's not horrendous and it makes sure speeds are kept modest. Next year we switch to CR500's (trackday semi slicks) which are considerably better.
 

LeVeL

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What are the costs? Around here amateur wheel-to-wheel racers are basically limited to Spec series (Miata, E30, etc) but from what I've heard Spec Miata, for example, gets expensive - you're lucky to find a used prepped car for under $15k and they tend to wreck quite a bit out on the track. A Miata might be small and cheap to run but crashing still costs a nice chunk of money.

edit: I'm slow sometimes :lol: You're not racing wheel-to-wheel; sounds like you're going to though?
 
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ArosaMike

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The Academy is fundamentally a spec series with new cars and novice drivers. You can only enter it once and basically the car, race license test, a test day and all the race entry and team support costs are included. The car itself is basically a track prepared Caterham Roadsport, so there's nothing you have to buy that's not already included to make it legal for circuit racing.

Sticker price is about $30,000, but as is always the case, there's plenty of other stuff that you have to spend money on like fuel, additional track time and the tools to build the thing. Resale value after 1 year would be around $24,000, but for around $2,000 you can upgrade the car and compete in another spec series run by Caterham. Season costs for next year are probably around the $10,000 region, maybe a bit more for the year after when you run minus windscreens and with widetrack front suspension.

It's not the cheapest racing you can do in this country, but it's probably the cheapest at a relatively high level, and you're on a level playing field, so it's a lot easier to move up the ladder if you do well than if you were to race Miata's (which exists here too).

Some people love it, some (usually other club racers) hate it. It's a rather cushty and slightly expensive way into club motorsport, but it fitted what I wanted and my budget. Ultimately, I can move on to the slightly more serious Superlights championship which supports things like Touring cars and single seater racing. Maybe 10% of drivers move on to GT after that.

We have 2 more sprint events and then it's on to races (x4). Damage is always a risk, but we can insure for around $400 a round against 'the big one'. Front corner is maybe $500, rear suspension the same. Cycle wings are around $100 each and the same for wheels. Worst you can do is what's called a 'long front' where they have to chop the front of the chassis off and weld a new one back on. The general trend is it happens probably once in 3 years racing to each driver. It's an expensive one at about $10,00but the insurance would reduce this to $2k.
 

Steve Levin

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What are the costs? Around here amateur wheel-to-wheel racers are basically limited to Spec series (Miata, E30, etc) but from what I've heard Spec Miata, for example, gets expensive - you're lucky to find a used prepped car for under $15k and they tend to wreck quite a bit out on the track

You can definitely find decent if not front-running Spec Miata's for well under 10 grand. A truly front-running car isn't needed the first couple of years unless you are immensely talented.

It's really only when you are capable of or want a top-notch car that you start getting into 10-12 thousand for an engine, for example. (at which point a sealed class like Spec Racer Fords is cheaper, IMO).

Crash damage definitely sucks. For a couple of years I was very lucky and spent maybe $3,000 across 2008 and 2009 for crash rapair (most of that in a single incident), but my luck has sucked with three wrecks in four weekends this year, probably totalling close to $10,000 for the three of them.

Steve
 

otispunkmeyer

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looks like epic fun

a friend of my dads, who owned a triumph stag no less, built his own caterham...... he did buy most parts from them, but he used an old fiesta as a donor car taking the engine, gearbox, pedals and stuff of it. so he got to have a Q plate caterham rip off! haha

he also built it with instructions he found on google and then printed off on a dodgy lexmark
 
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sephiroth99

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wow looks like lots of fun, I'd like to take a ride someday in a Caterham.

maybe you don't know, but I'll ask you anyway. Do you know if Caterham makes or ever made "starter kits" (to build yourself), or even complete cars, in LHD form? Because where I live, you can't register a kit car if it's RHD. And maybe someday I'll have one ;)
 

ArosaMike

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wow looks like lots of fun, I'd like to take a ride someday in a Caterham.

maybe you don't know, but I'll ask you anyway. Do you know if Caterham makes or ever made "starter kits" (to build yourself), or even complete cars, in LHD form? Because where I live, you can't register a kit car if it's RHD. And maybe someday I'll have one ;)

Not sure whether it would apply, but Caterhams can be registered without any issues in the USA: www.uscaterham.com/showroom/showroom.html I assume Canada would therefore be relatively similar?

All the chassis are built to accompdate LHD. Foreign markets are just too big to ignore these days! If you do get a chance to have a go in one, do it! Teaches you a lot about how a car should handle....not so much abot refinement, but there's very little else this side of a motorbike that can make you feel so in touch with the road.
 

maxtortheone

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Hey Mike, I've had a bit of a discussion with a colleague about kit cars(especially Caterhams and other Lotus Seven kits) and I was wondering if your car is road legal and registered and how much are all the registration fees(MOT included)? Here, to register a kit car you have to homologate it and it costs anything between 2000-4000 euros for all the various tests.
 

ArosaMike

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I haven't been on Final Gear for ages, but felt compelled to return for a bit! I've still got the Caterham, although it's now somewhat more developed. I ended up almost winning the championship in my first season with the car, but unfortunately fell foul of a race steward and got a rather serious slap on the wrist for overtaking partly on the grass resulting in a DQ and a 0 point score :( Last year I very nearly secured 2nd in the championship until I decided to mount the back of someones car on the last corner of the last lap of the last race! Still, had a few race wins, a couple of lap records and a decent hit rate on podiums, so I couldn't really have enjoyed myself/learnt more over these last two years. Some photos below from last years racing:

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So this year, I'm going to compete for the final time and am hoping to enjoy myself even more. The car's changed quite a bit. It's still got the same power, but has an increased rev limit (7200 from 6500) to reduce gear shifts, no windscreen or lights, wider front wishbones, Avon CR500 track tyres, uprated damper and spring rates, rear anti roll bar and a brake bias adjuster. I've also decided to go for some team support this year, so having spent two years rolling around in my nomex overalls between races, I will now get to drink tea instead!

Lap times are anywhere from 3 to 6 seconds a lap faster depending on the track, but running costs are still reasonable.

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ninjacoco

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Oh, yes. I has a jelly.

Awesome car is awesome. Those things look like SO much fun.
 

ArosaMike

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Don't know if anyone runs them as track day rentals over your side of the world. Understandably they're quite popular over here, and it's well worth the money if you can find someone who'll rent you one for the day, but I strongly recommend giving one a whirl sometime :)
 
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