2019 SEASON REVIEW – SANTANDER CATERHAM SEVEN 310R CHAMPIONSHIP
The Santander Caterham Seven 310R Championship marks the final evolution of the original Academy car, with most drivers heading into their fourth season of racing and the last step before progressing into a thoroughbred Caterham race car.
The first four races of the season ended up proving rather ominous for the rest of the season in terms of eventual champion Gordon Sawyer, as nobody could knock him out of 1st place at neither Silverstone nor Croft, but his winning streak took a hit after a tough day’s racing at Oulton Park. Another weekend of dominance at Snetterton followed, then more solid points at Spa-Francorchamps despite not finishing on the podium, before he took his final two race wins of 2019 with another win and a 2nd place at Donington Park. With the title battle close between the top 3, Sawyer just had to keep out of trouble and thankfully he kept his head while his rivals floundered with two 4th places to clinch the 310R title, making up for missing out a year before. Now he has ambitions for the top level 420R series, so let’s see how he copes!
Jay McCormack had spent the last three seasons ending up as the bridesmaid and never the bride when it came to championship fortunes, just missing out on Academy, Roadsport and 270R glory despite always being in the hunt. He ensured that his 310R exploits started in much the same way, with three 2nd places and a 3rd to start the year, but then a day of varied fortunes at Oulton Park still gave him another P2 to keep his title challenge on course. More handy results at Snetterton and Spa came next, before Jay finally managed to take to the top step with his first win of the year at Donington Park. Maximum points in the first race at Brands Hatch saw him set to go toe-to-toe with Sawyer in the final race, but brief excursion onto the grass lost him enough time to lose positions and points that left him in the runner up spot in the championship, a mere four points back.
Jay’s younger teammate of sorts Tom Grensinger started tentatively in the opening rounds, before capitalising on the misfortunes of the top two to charge to his first two wins of the season. He then had to cope with his own weekend of mixed fortunes at Snetterton despite a podium, before he conquered Belgium with a brace at Spa-Francorchamps kept him in the hunt for the crown. Subsequently, while his results in the remaining four races were fairly consistent, he had to concede the championship and settle for 3rd place in the end, which is still very much an impressive feat.
Pete Walters and Christian Szaruta were also race winners, the latter a guest driver taking the win on the road in the first race at Brands Hatch as a fitting tribute to his late father.