To race, or not to race, that was the question for 2021! On the one hand, I felt contentment at the end of my Academy season as I had achieved what I set out to achieve - to complete a season of motorsport on a limited budget. On the other hand, once the race calendar for 2021 was released, I got the itch to race again.
I decided to sign up with Caterham Graduates Racing Club. The "Grads" were established in 1998 and are one of the UK's largest single-make championships, with over 100 racing members racing in three classes.
If you have followed my journey so far, you will know that I had a limited budget for 2020. Well, for 2021 this reduces significantly. For this reason, the Grads makes an excellent choice. They offer three memberships options to suit an individuals' budget and time; Full - entry in to all seven race weekends for the Championship, the CGRC Trophy - entry into three race weekends, and Flex - allowing the driver to pick and choose as many or as few race weekends as they like. I have decided to sign for the Trophy. I would like to talk to you more in a later article about the Grads, but if, in the meantime, you would like to find out more I would encourage you to watch this video from the club.
The planned calendar is 17 April at Oulton Park, 29 May at the home of Formula 1! Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, and 21/22 August at Donington Park. The great news is that I'm familiar with two of the three circuits. This is good news as this year I will not have the budget to be able to attend any track days before the races for practice. For Silverstone GP I will have to put the hours in on the simulator to learn the three and a half mile track. The great thing with the Grads is inclusivity, as it starts with the pre-season track day where (COVID permitting) friends and family are encouraged to come along and get involved, have a passenger ride or possibly even have a go!
Over the winter I'm completing a series of upgrades to take my Academy car up to Caterham Graduates Sigma 135. This is the equivalent specification of Caterham Motorsport 270R, so effectively my car and I are jumping a step of the ladder. The car will receive many upgrades including, better brakes, better suspension, better tyres, more power and the removal of screen, doors and lights, making it look and drive much more like a real race car! I am documenting the evolution of my car in a series of YouTube videos, please do watch and keep up to date with my progress. Here's the link to the first step, removing the rear lights. This video might well interest you if you are planning to add high-level rear brake lights to your road-going Caterham also:
As I will also be using my car on the road, I have completed the upgrades in a way that I can quickly and easily switch between track and road configuration. Let's hope for a lifting of restrictions so we can meet up once again at events. This year I will be supporting 'Sporting 'Bears' children's charity with the intention of being able to take people out on track to experience what it feels like to be in a race car while raising money for charity in the process.
So, lots to look forward to for 2021!