Information for drivers contemplating racing with Caterham Graduates

Caterham Racing

"There are two sorts of people in the world, those who have sat in a race car on the grid as the 5 sec board drops, the revs rise to a deafening crescendo all around, the red lights go on for what seems like an eternity as engines howl and then off and the world is full of tyre smoke and hurtling cars just inches away... and those that haven't."

Think youve got what it takes to go racing? Would you enjoy mixing it up in some of the most evenly-matched, cleanest, lowest-cost racing there is? Well you can get all the guidance and support you need, with the Caterham Graduates Racing Club.

Lots of people have started racing as novices in the Caterham Graduates Racing Club championships, and we know it can seem daunting to start with. You need to decide what championship to race, get a race licence, find a car, wade through reams of paperwork, and that's before you even get to the real business of getting out racing on the circuit!

Why do all of this by yourself, when the Graduates are offering support to get new racing drivers out on the grid in 2015, including:

  1. Help in getting a racing licence
  2. A guide through all the paperwork/red-tape that seems so complicated when you first start
  3. Help in finding a suitable car
  4. Sensible advice on what equipment you need to buy to race, and what you really don't need to buy
  5. A car which should be eligible to race for at least the next 5 seasons
  6. Friendly paddock atmosphere, with a great drivers' camaraderie and good friendships off the track
  7. Races at some of the top UK circuits and a European round - in 2015 we expect to race at Oulton Park, Donington, Brands Hatch, Silverstone GP and our overseas round: Zandvoort!!
  8. Like-minded novices to learn together and support each other
  9. Regular communication throughout the season, with hints and tips for each circuit
  10. Someone of a similar standard to race against - there are different standards all the way through the grid

What everyone wants to know is how much it costs. Probably not as much as you'd think, as the cars are all to the same tightly-controlled spec, with no modifications permitted -the Graduates club does not encourage 'chequebook racers'! Here's a rough guide based on the full 2014 calendar:

1. Start-up costs - you only need to do this once!:

  • MSA 'Go Racing' pack & ARDS test (race licence) - one-off of around £300 all-in
2. Equipment -should be good for several years:

  • Car - outlay around £7k-£12k, but actual cost should be very low as depreciation is almost nil, so when you come to sell, you should get back an amount similar amount to what you paid.
  • Trailer - outlay of around £1000 for a used Brian James Minno or Clubman, actual cost £0 unless buying new as you should be able sell it for more or less what you paid for it (or avoid this by driving your race car to the racing!)
  • Equipment (suit, boots, gloves, helmet etc) - a one-off cost of between £500 and £1,200, depending on how much you want to spend. You can use the same equipment for several years

3. Per-season fixed costs:

  • BARC Racing membership - about £100
  • Caterham Graduates Racing Club Membership - about £100
  • Licence renewal (year 2 onwards) - around £60 for National B, a little higher for National A; Nat B is good enough for our races, except for overseas rounds

4. Race meeting and costs associated with racing

  • Race entries - around £280 for a single-header, £390 for a double-header weekend (2014 figures)
  • Testing (optional, but recommended if you want to be competitive at the beginning); say £180 per event. Testing is normally the day before the race to save on time and travel costs.
  • Petrol -4000 miles to do all the races or pro-rata if you don't do all the events, at whatever mpg your towcar does, plus test/race petrol. 2014 estimate: £1,000 for fuel (tow vehicle) + about £800 for 'Super-unleaded' (racecar)
  • Accommodation -£0 if you camp at the circuit, as little as £15/night for a Travelodge, or whatever you want to pay for a B&B/hotel
  • Food -£0. You'd have to eat anyway; if you camp you can take your own. Even if you don't, the Grads club provides breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea as part of your membership subscription so you probably only need to pay for an evening meal
  • Tyres -one set of Yokohama A539s should do you a whole Classic Graduates season -£180 fitted (Sigmas, SigMax, Supers & Megas - allow three sets of tyres for a whole season at about £360 per set)
  • Maintenance/repairs - as little as a few hundred pounds a year.

So, the total cost for doing a full season is likely to range between £5000-£6000 for a cheap season including testing everywhere (camping etc), and £10,000 for an expensive one (nice hotels, meals out). If that seems high, you don't need to test, or you don't have to do every event -lots of drivers miss one or two races due to time, money or other commitments. You don't actually commit to do any particular number of races - just do two or three, if that suits you. The championship allows you to drop 3 scores, so you can even challenge for the title while missing an event or two!

And how does this compare against other ways to go racing? Well a number of our members used to race in other series, and are staying with Graduates due to the low running costs, friendly paddock and great racing!

What are you waiting for? For more information or to sign up today, e-mail chairman@graduates.org.uk.

All the information herein is presented in good faith by The Caterham Graduates Racing Club but please be aware that it is subject to change and that it does not constitute an agreement or contract.