2015 SEASON REVIEW: AVON TYRES CATERHAM TRACKSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP


CATEGORIES:

Dickens (centre) & Heaton (left) took it down to the wire at Silverstone – Photo: SnappyRacers

Tracksport was a new name for the Caterham Motorsport ladder for the 2012 season, although the car and championship remain unchanged since its introduction (as Supersport) in 2010. Unlike the lower categories, there is no restriction on professional team support or driver experience. Most are Caterham racers with several years of experience, making this a fiercely fought championship.

It is a truism of racing that not all championships are equal; even the same championship from one year to the next. That’s why 2015 Tracksport champion Tim Dickens probably deserves a little more – “champion-plus” if you like. Of all the Caterham championships, none have had more potential winners and closer finishes than the Tracksport series in 2015, so it is to his great credit that, following a brace of victories at the opening round, the 33 year-old held on to the top spot and kept his cool under considerable pressure.

But no-one expected this outcome, least of all Dickens. A handful of podiums in his Roadsport year was topped with a second place at the final race, perhaps an indication of what was to come. But a nail-biter at Snetterton, with one race decided by less than two-tenths and the next by less than two hundredths, gave everyone a flavour of what to expect from Tracksport. Dickens would only go on to score one more win during the year at Castle Combe, but consistently strong finishes allowed him a modicum of breathing space at the last round at Silverstone. This was despite the very best efforts of triple-winner and former Academy champion Henry Heaton, who was just two points short of taking it to a tie-breaker that Heaton would have won.

As the year progressed, the third round would yield another winner in the form of Dan Gore. The 35 year-old would take one more win on his way to picking up the third place championship, but when it came to wins none of the top three drivers could compete with youngster Jack Brown. At 21 years old, Brown was the youngest driver in the year and prior to Tracksport had picked up a single trophy for a third place at Snetterton in Roadsport. He started Tracksport with a repeat of this but really shone in the second half of the year, taking four wins from the final four races to lift his total to five wins in the year – two more than either of the top two drivers. Roadsport champion Jack Sales picked up the remaining available win, finishing his year early on this high note to ready himself for the Superlight R300S championship in 2016.

Christina Maple finished the year in 14th position, a respectable place in such a large field and making her the top female in Caterham racing at present, which has seen women perform particularly well in the past including champions such as Rachel Green, Flick Haigh and, across the channel, Melanie Cazzini.

The Tracksport cars have typically made their way up from the Academy from ’09 onwards. They have now developed into race focused machines, with stiffer suspension and removal of the windscreen and lights (though they can be quickly refitted for road use).

Simon Lambert