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First Test in the Caterham

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Terzo204

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So having bought the Caterham in October of last year, I had still yet to drive the car. As part of the purchase, I had negotiated that the seller (who runs a Caterham motorsport outfit) to attend a trackway with me to help prepare and set up the car. I booked a trackday at Donny for Friday with MSV trackdays. I can recommend to anyone with a race or sprint car to attend one of these days as they are race car friendly, in fact, most cars were race cars on the day - Mini's, Exiges, BMW's, Clios etc. 

I had approx 30 hours work on the car over the winter:

1. Trimmed and re-covered the bag seat

2. Perfected the fit of the tonneau

3. Greased the extinguisher lines

4. Replaced all the stickers

5. Painted the interior

6. Fixed the exhaust (which was squashed to say the least - record and re-packed for only £65!)

7. Given the car a blooming' good clean and tidy up

I should have been looking to this day but I was bedridden for 3-days earlier in the week. I still felt rough on the day but it was too late to cancel. Nonetheless, the day was dry and bright even if a little breezy. I got up early and trailered the car to the track, only to find one tyre had picked up a puncture on the way. No bother as I swapped the spare at lunch. 

So how does it compare to the Westie? Well, its hard to compare when I have been off-track for 6-months, but for sure, the chassis is more communicative and the turn-in is much better (it's got a quick rack). Its better on the brakes too, presumably due to the weight saving. The bag seat is not as comfy as the Tillet and the layout of the dash and pedals to too compact initially, until you get used to it. Power is comparable. Overall, I would say an improvement over the Westie, but not by any significant margin. 

In fact, my best lap time was a 1.21.5. I think there is more to come when I heel and toe (one step at a time I thought) and can use the whole of the track (the grass was so wet a lot of the kerbs had sods of grass on them!) and under the pressure to perform during Quali....but my best time in the Westie at Donny? Yep. A 1.21.5. Funny how these things work out! 

My first race for the dark side is on the 22nd of April at Pembrey. I'm in a difference class now with the 1.6 so I hope to be competitive. Wish me luck!

 

Mike

Pics below inc. some nice historic racers who occupied the garage after I had packed up. Interior shot in my garage at the end

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Looks like youve done a great job on the car. glad to see the transition has potential for you being quicker. may hve missed it further back in the blog but what race series do you race in mike

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Good work.

Do you have details of the car weight and steering rack ratio?

Good luck for the 22nd.

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I think it will be quicker, albeit by not a lot.

 

I'll be predominantly racing in the Welsh Sports and Saloons Championship this year with the odd round in the Mag 7's (10 No. Supersports at the first race meeting!). looking forward to getting out these now.

 

I asked the mechanic on Friday and he suggested around 540kg's. Re. the race, err...dunno! its a Caterham quick rack, fitted to the supersport as standard I believe. It's definstely quicker then the Westie which was a standard Sierra one.

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My understanding is 2.12 turns lock to lock standard rack but 'race quick rack' is 1.93 turns.

Westie usually 2.4.

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I'll have to take your word for that Don, but it definitely is more responsive on the steering. I wish I had changed it on the Westie now.

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