Caterham Seven 160 (2015) long-term test review
Month 11 running a Seven 160: a trip to the Caterham Academy!
\r\nThe Seven is a superb road car, and an even better track car, so this month I visited Castle Combe to get a taste of Caterham’s Motorsport Academy. Just over 900 drivers have passed through the academy since its inception 20 years ago, including motorsport boss Simon Lambert who competed in the first academy, won his first race and came second overall. He was such an enthusiastic Caterham owner that he went to work for the company and has been there for the last 15 years.\r\n\r\nThe Academy works so: for £23k you get a self-build road-legal track car, the requisite medical and ARDS course, as well as engineering support and race engineers for five races and two sprints throughout the year. Everything you need to go racing except skidlid, race suit and talent. What you can’t have though, is experience. The Academy only accepts absolute novices.\r\n\r\nSure, 23 large is low-mileage Cayman money, but in the wedged-up world of motorsport, it’s peanuts. ‘We want to be the best at affordable club racing and we’re very realistic about our position on the motorsport ladder,’ says Lambert. ‘You can’t spend your way on to the front of the grid in a Caterham – and that’s exactly the way we want it.’\r\n\r\nThe five races are 15 minutes long, which sounds ludicrously short, but from behind the novice wheel that’s a long time to be screaming into your helmet while rubbing wheelarches. And there are no prizes for race winners – just a massive knees-up at the end of each weekend to reward everyone. Very democratic.\r\n\r\nOn average three-quarters of the drivers progress to the next tier. After the Academy comes the Roadsport Race Series – 14 races over seven weekends – using the same Academy car but with chassis upgrades. Then there’s the Tracksport, Supersport and Superlight race series where the racing gets progressively more hardcore.\r\n\r\nDriving the 160 around a sunny Castle Combe was a delight. With its modest power and waterbiscuit-thin tyres, it felt completely at home four-wheel drifting through Quarry and Camp, and wailing along Hammerdown and Dean. It was so biddable and keen, like it was having as much of a laugh as I was.\r\n\r\nThe Academy car is a Caterham Seven with 125bhp 1.6-litre Ford power. The Sigma unit drives the rear wheels through a five-speed ’box and an open diff; there are discs at each corner and the tyres are bespoke low-grip Avon CR322s.\r\n\r\nStepping into the Academy car wasn’t like going from korma to phaal. Yes, it felt noticeably pokier, with sharper throttle responses, but as with the 160, the immediacy, the responsiveness, the adjustability were all there in spades. It felt confidence-inspiringly secure and friendly – a perfect car for motorsport novices.\r\n\r\nRead full article here.http://transiis.info/?p=1153FeaturedCaterham,Global,global transportation,Ground transportation,hybrid cars,Limousine,seven