SILVERSTONE JULY 3/4 PREVIEW – CATERHAM SEVEN 270R CHAMPIONSHIP
One man is in command at the head of the Caterham Seven 270R Championship as after two exciting weekends at Donington Park and the recent trip north to Knockhill in Scotland, the next journey on the cards is to the home of British motorsport at Silverstone, and on the legendary full Grand Prix circuit no less. This is a rare opportunity for all drivers involved and one which everyone entered this weekend will certainly relish.
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 their 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 ‘19 (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.
Blair McConachie may have had to come second best to long-standing rival Tom Wyllys in the last two seasons in the Academy and Roadsport ranks, but here in the Seven 270R Championship in 2021 it’s now the Scotsman who is the early favourite to go on to title glory. With Tom only making a handful of appearances this year as a guest driver and therefore ineligible to score points, Blair knows that wherever Wyllys (who is back on the grid again this weekend) ends up finishing, it won’t have an effect on the amount he scores. So far, he’s driven superbly with three wins and a 3rd from the first four races and appears to be in firm command with a nine point lead at this early stage. Now with the championship starting to shift towards the middle stages, McConachie knows he has to keep this pace up in order to remain on top, and it won’t be easy.
The closest driver currently chasing him down is former Ginetta racer Rob Keogh, who has taken to Caterham racing very much like the proverbial duck to water. Having taken a 4th place followed by three excellent 2nd places on the bounce, Rob has really thrown himself into the mix against some of the drivers who are in their third season in the Caterham paddock and is impressing many people. Now that’s he’s become an established name on the podium, surely a first win has to be on the cards soon – perhaps this weekend? Well, not if the likes of Harry Eyre, Will Rossetti or Carl Jones have anything to say about it!
Rossetti managed to collect the only win that McConachie hasn’t scored this year at Donington Park and has found himself shuffled about in and around the top 10 after that, but is always formidable every time he takes to the grid and has history of success at Silverstone in previous years. Maybe his form in the past might help him to be on the pace this weekend a little bit quicker. Just ahead of him is Harry Eyre, another proven race winner who hasn’t claimed one just yet but also looks almost certain to at some point. His three podiums to date mean he’s two points back from Keogh and eleven away from McConachie, but it only takes one change in fortunes to completely turn the table on its head at this stage. Carl Jones has also looked fairly formidable too while he hasn’t yet stood on the rostrum in 2021, he too has made sure to keep on racking up as many points as possible and has shown an incredible turn of pace at time, turning on the afterburners when needed and carving his way back through the pack at times when he’s found himself down the order. While it’s not anticipated he’ll have to do that this weekend, it will give him confidence that there’s pace in reserve should he need it.
Fraser Jones, Wes Payne and Chris Efremidis all came away from Scotland with healthy scores in both races, meaning that they sit 6th to 8th respectively and have all tried to throw themselves amongst the front runners on more than one occasion already this year. Tim Steel and Stuart Bell will also be trying hard to do the same as well, especially Bell who at one stage in previous seasons was in championship-winning contention and isn’t afraid to mix it up with his contemporaries when he’s on a charge. While he might have had a quieter start to the 2021 season that he was hoping for in terms of results, he very well could be one to watch too, so keep an eye out for him at Silverstone this weekend!