Sometimes, incredible things that some may not have even thought possible happen in motorsport. Over the off-season ahead of this year, something just like that happened for Caterham Motorsport as after a successful application over the winter, the series formerly known as the Caterham Seven 420R Championship officially gained British national status, putting it in the same category as other high profile series such as the BTCC, British GT, British F3 and British Rallycross to name a few. Hence, this contest has now rebranded itself and races in 2020 as the Caterham Seven UK Championship, meaning that for the first time there will be an official British Caterham champion! We start the quest to find this new champion at Cadwell Park for the first time this weekend.

Caterham’s premier championship has firmly established itself as one of the most competitive and exciting race series in the country. A grid of high quality, experienced drivers, most of whom have worked their way up through the Caterham ranks, winning races and championships along the way, ensures that the top level of Caterham racing is amongst the most exciting. The Seven 420R used in the Seven UK Championship is a dedicated race machine and is perhaps the fastest racing formula without the benefit of slicks or wings. As with all Caterham racing, close control of the regulations ensures a level playing field of machinery. Plus, after its successful introduction last year, the Championship also features a Superpole element of qualifying with bonus points for the top 3 fastest drivers in that session.

Regardless of the grid size, it’s still packed full of quality drivers. One of which is of course, the defending champion. John Byrne spent all season going back and forth with sparring partner David Henderson and ended up coming out on top in a season that saw him run away with race victories at times, but also pick up his own share of bad luck in others. Nevertheless, he’s proven that when he’s on form, he’s unstoppable and now Cadwell Park will produce an exciting new test which he will be hoping to pass with flying colours.

Two of his nearest rivals are certain to be Stephen Nuttall and Henry Heaton. Stephen has been nicknamed the “Roger Federer of Caterham racing” having won a title in every step of the Caterham Motorsport ladder – except one. The prize of the top-level championship title has eluded him thus far and making a welcome return to the grid, he’ll be raring to go to see if he can put an end to Byrne’s dominant streak. As for Heaton, he’s been in the mix the last couple of seasons and always there or thereabouts when it came to contending for race wins. He’s come agonisingly close more than once and as a result, he must feel that the chance to not only score a victory but to also win a championship must be as good as it’s ever been in his Caterham career.

Another exciting element to this year’s Seven UK ranks will be the addition of reigning 310R champion Gordon Sawyer. Gordon is typically quick in whichever spec of Caterham you throw him into the driver seat of, and this was proven last year in a battle for honours that went right down to the last race of the season at Brands Hatch, ultimately working out in his favour. Now he’s made the jump to the big league, he will be salivating at the chance to prove himself in the fastest racing machinery Caterham offers, so be sure to watch out for him pushing like crazy to keep his main rivals in reach.

As for the rest of the line-up, Rob Watts, Chris Aubrey, Jake Swann-Dixon and Harry Cramer are all going to be hoping that they can have their own effect on the points standings and will be hoping that they can steal a potential podium finish should any of the expected defacto front running cars hit trouble at any point both during this weekend and indeed the entire season.

2020 may be a tough year for many people given everything that’s going on in the world, but in the land of Caterham Motorsport it’s exciting times for its top-line championship that has been given national status by Motorsport UK. Now all that’s left is to flick the lights from red to green and begin the journey to discovering who will be crowned the first-ever British Caterham champion!

Scott Woodwiss 


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