2015 SEASON REVIEW: AVON TYRES CATERHAM SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP
Nuttall made it 4 Caterham titles on the bounce, fending off veteran Clive Richards – Photo: SnappyRacers
Supersport is the ultimate evolution of the Academy car and like Tracksport beneath it, many drivers also benefit from the convenience of professional team support. The majority of Supersport drivers are now in their fourth year of Caterham racing making them amongst the most experienced and competitive there is.
All eyes were on Stephen Nuttall at the start of the season. The 38 year-old Stockport driver had won three titles in succession as he progressed from Academy through Roadsport to Tracksport. His chief rival would be arguably the most successful Caterham racer ever, Clive Richards, who won his first Caterham championship more than twenty years ago. Richards already had a year of Supersport experience under his belt, having returned to Caterham racing in 2014 following a break racing… err, something else. Until this point, Nuttall had been neck-&-neck with another of those drivers that should have won a championship at some point: Pete Fortune. Tragically, Fortune passed away through natural causes in the paddock at Donington on the pre-season trackday, robbing the Caterham Motorsport community of one of its more colourful characters and another year of Nuttall v Fortune, a fierce but friendly rivalry.
However, it was former Porsche racer Phil Jenkins that looked to be in control of the series at the halfway point; his two rivals both having the odd less-than-brilliant round denting their scores. But Nuttall was not to be outdone and turned his year around with more wins and second places, which were enough to secure the title in the penultimate race of the year. 54 year-old tree surgeon Richards would come out on top in the battle for second, with Jenkins settling for third. Things get really interesting for Nuttall next year as, along with Richards, he progresses to the Superlight R300-S, where he will join some of the fastest and most experienced Caterham racers, including 2014 champion Aaron Head.
Kiwi driver Danny Killeen and Suffolk youngster Will Smith were two other drivers that had their moment in the spotlight. Killeen has been a race winner in the past, but results have been sporadic. In a more consistent year, he was a regular to the podium and finally scored a win in the last race of the year. Meanwhile, Academy champion Will Smith gave himself a mountain to climb by skipping Tracksports and heading straight into Supersport from Roadsport. After a poor opening round, he quickly got to grips with the car and featured heavily on the podium, finally beating Nuttall to the flag at that most challenging of circuits – Oulton Park. Just a few places behind in sixth, the sole female driver on the grid Lucy Redding (wife of R300-S racer, Jason) put in her best result of the season. Like the leaders, Killeen and Smith progress onwards and upwards into R300-S for 2016.
The Supersport cars have made their way up from the Academy from ’08 onwards. Looking identical to the Tracksports, they benefit from a hike in power to 140bhp which helps exploit the most notable new feature – a limited slip differential.