CATERHAM 310R CHAMPIONSHIP ALL SET FOR RAPID THRUXTON WEEKEND
The Caterham Seven 310R Championship is all set to make its second appearance of the amended 2020 season as the drivers and teams make the trek south to Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire, ready to experience its fast and flowing nature. It’s a circuit that rewards bravery and smooth driving, something everyone in this stage of their Caterham racing careers should have plenty of after at least three seasons of racing previously.
Caterham’s penultimate step on the ladder sees the ultimate evolution of the Academy car, with drivers and cars now typically entering their fourth year of competition; many with the benefit of professional team support. Looking identical to the Seven 270R that sits below it, the improvements are all under the skin. A power hike to 152bhp is accompanied by a limited-slip differential, whilst retaining the Seven 270R’s track biased suspension and Avon ZZS tyres. The result is considered by many to be the best balanced and most enjoyable Caterham ever.
There are plenty of drivers who have the potential to be the champion this season and the points table after Cadwell Park is a clear indication of this, given that only seven points separate the top five drivers. Top of the pile is Tom Grensinger, who contended for the 310R honours last year and managed to end up 3rd in points as a result. With a car supported by BTCC team Speedworks, who also look after Tom Ingram’s Toyota Corolla touring car, he has a superb base around him and his 3rd place and victory from Lincolnshire were enough to give him the joint lead. He shares it with a former champion in the lower steps of the ladder in James Murphy, as he clinched a pair of 2nd places along with a fastest lap, but sits in P2 courtesy of Grensinger being the one that grabbed a victory. Just behind Grensinger and Murphy is Greg Monks, who has made giant leaps up the ladder from the Academy a couple of years ago and his superb progress was rewarded with a hard-fought Race 1 win after battling with Murphy in the closing stages, followed by 4th the next day. All three are covered by just a point and all of them will be keen to break this deadlock this weekend.
Lewis Thompson is also looking promising this season as he too was up with the leaders all weekend at Cadwell, earning 4th and 3rd respectively with the latter being his maiden podium (of sorts after terrible luck at Spa last year), so Thruxton will be a great chance to build on that solid start. Matt Sheppard comes next as the last man in the top five, off the back of 4th and 6th from Lincolnshire and he’ll want to make an impression this weekend at a circuit that picked up a pair of 4th places in 2018 back in his Roadsport days. Aside from Thompson who hasn’t stood on the top step just yet, everyone else in the top five is a proven race winner and all of them will be looking to come out on top in Hampshire.
James Wingfield is currently best of the rest in 6th place just a point behind Sheppard and has the potential to be a threat once again, while Chris Moore and Harry Senior sit 7th and 8th with hopes of moving further up the table. The remaining top ten spots are currently held by Tom Allen and Don Henshall, two more drivers who are no strangers to running towards the front having done so several times throughout their Caterham racing days over the last couple of seasons as they moved up the ranks. All of these five drivers will have the target of breaking into the top five and closing the gap to the leaders.
A final mention should go to Caterham’s very own CEO turned racing driver Graham Macdonald, who may not have had the start to his 2020 season that he neither expected nor wanted, but has a great chance to get back to the form which took him to a race win last year at Spa-Francorchamps. If the car’s working in perfect harmony, he can be as quick as any of the main front runners, so be sure to watch for his Scottish saltire-adorned 310R applying the pressure this weekend!