CATERHAM SEVEN 310R’s GET FIRED UP TO BEGIN 2020 AT CADWELL PARK
Cadwell Park is not usually a place to see Caterham Motorsport competing, but it marks the beginning of a new season for the Caterham Seven 310R Championship in 2020, with a healthy amount of drivers progressing up from last year’s incredibly epic 270R season. With drivers here being truly battle-hardened by this stage in their careers, it’s set to be a frantic contest right from the outset.
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.
Last year’s 270R champ Daniel French does not appear again this year, and in fact, the only driver from the top three in 2019 to continue going upwards is double champ James Murphy, who may have missed out on 270R glory but does have both Academy and Roadsport titles to his name. The man they nickname “Superman”, James is always able to dig deep and pull a much-needed result out of the bag and after just missing out on championship glory last year, he’s in a prime position to make it a third crown in four seasons.
He’s sure to have plenty of competition to take him on, however, including those who drove well enough last season to find themselves on the top step of the podium at least once. Matt Sheppard and Tom Allen managed to head to victory lane after strong performances that allowed them to show flashes of brilliance and given the opportunity to keep up and even potentially beat Murphy, you can be sure that both of them will grab it with both hands. Another one to watch will be none other than Caterham’s very own racing CEO himself Graham Macdonald. The Scotsman has been getting progressively better and more consistent since he debuted in the Academy three seasons ago and last year all his hard work came to a head when he managed to score his first championship race victory after triumphing at the European rounds at Spa-Francorchamps. His next target will surely be to not only score a win on UK soil but to also grab his best opportunity to take a shot at the title.
An interesting element this year in 310R will be a man that has stuck around from last year and will also feel he has some unfinished business. After claiming 3rd place in the final standings last year, young Tom Grensinger is not only a proven race winner but also a proven title contender. With Gordon Sawyer moving up to the Seven UK Championship and Jay McCormack moving on to race elsewhere, Tom will have the advantage of being the highest place driver from last season, meaning he’s likely to have experience that the others around him at the front will have to earn quickly in order to keep up.
Greg Monks narrowly missed out on a podium place in the points last year as despite tying on dropped scores, he had to settle for 4th place on countback. He’s managed to prove himself as a race winner and podium finisher too and has made great strides in improving his driving as he heads into only his third season of competition. James Wingfield is another formidable name that knows how to race at the front and returns for more 310R antics from last year. He was always a constant presence around the top 10 places with occasional breakthrough higher up the order and with plenty of sim racing practice during the lockdown, he will be hoping that it’s helped him stay race-ready as the new season gets underway. There will be other names too that are familiar with fans of Caterham racing and will be hopeful of scoring strong results, such as David Yates, Don Henshall, Douglas Christie, Jonny Jarratt and Simon Sharrock, all of whom have had their moments in the sun and will be keen for more of those in 2020.