CADWELL PARK BECKONS FOR CATERHAM SEVEN 270R OPENER
The middle step on the Caterham Motorsport roster brings the Caterham Seven 270R Championship and this weekend at Cadwell Park, the 2020 edition begins once more. Given Cadwell’s unique nature with its narrow confines and many winding, twisting corners, it’s going to be a circuit that effectively every driver racing this weekend won’t have ever raced on – and that could make the results just that little more unpredictable.
The Seven 270R is firmly established as the ‘coming-of-age’ championship for those progressing out of the Caterham Academy, through the Roadsport championship and now into a third year of Caterham racing. Unlike the lower categories, there is no restriction on professional team support or driver experience. The Seven 270R race cars have typically made their way up from the Academy ‘18 (or slightly earlier). 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) giving them a very similar look to their Seven 310R big brother.
Favourite to pick up his second title in as many years, last season’s Roadsport champion Lars Hoffmann is hoping to continue the top form that took him to championship success. Having picked up three wins and a further few podiums and top 5s, he took the title battle down to the last meeting of the season, where he just beat Andrew Murgatroyd to the crown at Brands Hatch. A consistently strong driver, Lars will be looking to carry this over to this season now he has a little more performance underneath him thanks to the upgrades. As for Murgatroyd, second place in the points is still a superb achievement and Andrew and despite not being able to match Hoffmann’s win tally, his ability to always place around the head of the field in the races he finished made sure he was in contention to be champion right until the end. For 2020, Andrew will feel he has some unfinished business.
Ben Lopez-Appleton ended 2019 as the driver with the most wins in Roadsport with four to his name from Oulton Park, Spa-Francorchamps and Brands Hatch and he will be anxious to add to that tally this year. However, tackling a brand new circuit such as Cadwell is certainly going to be a challenge in itself and one he will hope he succeeds in. More top drivers to move up include Harry Cook, Angelos Alvanos and Andy Lees, all drivers who took their turns in challenging the front runners at least once last year. Alvanos has earned a reputation as a strong qualifier and has been able to string together a strong lap time more than once, so that trait could be useful on a tight circuit like Cadwell Park where overtakes could be few and far between. Cook was able to haul himself on to the podium a handful of times and could get to grips with the upgraded spec of the 2020 Caterham 270R race car, while Lees was mostly a top-five presence whilst also making occasional challenges for podiums and even race wins. All three could be in contention to pull a surprise or two if given the chance.
Giuseppe Felet started last year a little cautiously but by the end of the year had even managed to take his first podium and regularly break into the top five, while other carryovers from the previous season include Ryan Erroll and Gary Lapidus. Newcomers to the 270R ranks are Neal Evans and Callan Jones, both hoping that they can get off to a trouble-free start this season and learn their competition relatively swiftly.