2015 SEASON REVIEW: BOOKATRACK.COM CATERHAM SUPERLIGHT R300-S CHAMPIONSHIP
This was a common sight – Robinson (#16) and Head (#19) barely apart from each other! – Photo: SnappyRacers
Caterham’s premier championship has firmly established itself as one of the most competitive and exciting race series in the country.
Last year saw the first major change for the series since its inception in 2009. Gone was Caterham’s own 6 speed manual gearbox and in its place came a sequential ‘box from French manufacturer Sadev. Such is the level of competition and driving in the series, the original gearbox had been pushed to its limit. Similarly, Avon’s trusty CR500 was replaced with the ultimate in (unbelievably) road-legal grip, the Avon ZZR. With barely any-tread on its near-slick surface, a wet tyre (Avon ZZS) was introduced for the first time. These changes dropped the average lap time by a staggering two seconds. For 2015, two classes would be run; R300 for the original pre-2014 specification manual gearbox cars and R300-S denoting the sequential gearbox cars. However, following the opening weekend, the grid was comprised exclusively of sequential gearbox cars and the old class will be phased out for 2016.
It was a reversal of fortune for the drivers at the top of that table this year. In 2014, Aaron Head dominated with David Robinson following him home. However, Robinson found some extra mojo over the winter and was a match for Head at the opening round where the pair crossed the line together, Robinson just having the edge on both occasions. Unfortunately, a little contact during the phenomenally close race led to Robinson picking up a six championship points penalty, meaning that although he was the one with the wins, it was Head at the top of the table.
Robinson would go on to win seven of the next eight encounters, with Head only once able to better him at Donington. But even so, the results only tell half the story. Whilst Robinson had the upper hand in the table and spent most of the season on the top step, things were much, MUCH closer than they seemed. By the halfway point, only once had Robinson managed to put a whole second between himself and Head, and on three occasions the gap across the finish line has been less than 1/10th of a second, with 0.017s being the closest finish when the championship visited the sand dunes of Zandvoort in Holland. After the first four hours of racing, the margin between the two was less than three seconds in total.
Jon Mortimer was the only other driver to prise the points for a win from the two leaders, although fate did its best to intervene. Having brilliantly qualified on pole at Oulton Park, Mortimer rolled to the start line with a sheared driveshaft, preventing him from taking the lights. A start from the back of the grid for race two should have seen a mediocre result, but with the bit firmly between his teeth, he fought his way to second on track behind guest driver Danny Winstanley. With Winstanley not scoring, Mortimer picked up the 25 points for the win. He would go one better in the final weekend, taking an outright win having lined up on the front row again, this time alongside another guest driver, British GT4 champion Jamie Chadwick.
Head will be back in 2016 with Robinson moving on to pastures new. However, never has a series looked so exciting as he is joined by the cream of the Supersport grid, including quadruple champion Stephen Nuttall and former Superlight star Clive Richards.