SIR CHRIS HOY TO RACE IN CATERHAM 310R CHAMPIONSHIP
Sir Chris Hoy is no stranger to a Caterham, but how will he fair when he races one for the first time? – Photo: Caterham Cars
Olympic cycling legend turned racing driver Sir Chris Hoy takes a step into the relatively unknown when he makes the first of 3 appearances this season in the ITC Compliance Caterham Seven 310R Championship, adding to an already impressive racing CV since retiring from competitive cycling.
The 6-time Olympic gold medallist made the transition to motorsport in 2013 by contesting the Radical SR1 Cup, before making the substantial leap into the British GT Championship in 2014 with Nissan in a GT-R Nismo GT3, taking an impressive 2nd place at Spa-Francorchamps that year. Making another leap into LMP3 with Charlie Robertson, the pair contested the 2015 European Le Mans Series in a Ginetta-Nissan G57 LMP3, eventually taking 3 class win and the title in the process. Having also competed in the Race of Champions that same year, Hoy then fulfilled his ultimate goal – competing in the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours last year in the LMP2 category with Algarve Pro Racing, where he finished a very respectable 17th overall and 12th in Class.
Sir Chris has also raced with us in the days of the Arrowpak Saloon and Sportscar Championship, when he made a one-off appearance in 2014 at Silverstone to achieve a podium finish in Class F. Plus, he has also competed at the Britcar 24 Hours in 2015 in the Ginetta LMP3, however a series of mechanical issues prevented an overall win.
Speaking about his venture into Caterham racing this season in a video interview by Caterham Cars, Sir Chris said this of his upcoming race weekends, his existing experience of driving and owning Caterhams and what he's looking forward to the most come race day at Brands Hatch this weekend and beyond:
“All the Caterham Championships are renowned for being incredibly competitive and I think dropping into them is quite a tricky thing to do. I’m not hopeful that I’m going to set the world alight, but I’ll do the best I can and enjoy it!
The car I’m going to be racing in the 310R Championship is actually very similar to my first Caterham, the R400. In terms of a Caterham you’d buy from the showroom, they pretty similar to the race cars. I think that’s what’s great about them – they are almost straight out of the box race-ready.
Racing in Caterhams is nice in bringing things almost full circle, coming back to where I started and just driving for the enjoyment of it. I started driving Caterhams back in 2008 and I drove one at Bedford Autodrome and loved it. From then, I was hooked so I went and bought an R400 and that was my regular track day car. I used to come to Oulton Park and just drive around all day, I loved it.
The Caterham 7 is almost the purest form of driving you can get. It’s incredibly light, there’s nothing on it you don’t need and it’s all about the driving experience. The thing I’m looking forward to the most about racing in a Caterham is that moment in the first race at Brands Hatch, when the lights go out and we go flat out towards the first corner and it’s proper wheel-to wheel racing.
It’s not endurance racing where you’re mindful of keeping the car in one piece and pacing yourself for 24 hours. It’s about pure sprint racing, battling wheel-to-wheel and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”
As mentioned, Sir Chris will make his Caterham racing debut this weekend at Brands Hatch on June 3/4, before tackling the Donington Park GP circuit on July 8/9 amidst the celebrations of the Caterham 60th Anniversary Festival and then heading to Oulton Park, a circuit he's no stranger to in a Caterham, on August 12. If you want to see him in action, make sure you come along and cheer him on!