Caterham Ownership - First 6months Lessons Learnt

Six months ago I purchased my first Caterham, a mechanically solid Graduates Super that needed some fettling and tidying for the road. Yesterday my experience culminated with the fantastically organised Caterham Novices Trackday @ Rockingham where I got my first taste of circuit driving which took the ownership experience to a whole new level! As I was driving back home I reflected on how much fun Caterham ownership has already given me and what I’d learnt along the way so I thought I’d share some of highlights through the formatted comment below the post...

Comments

1) Just Buy One… I will always admit that owning a Caterham was not on my bucket list growing up, why would anyone pay so much money for such a basic car? I now absolutely get it - the basic driving experience and the ability to tinker and fettle always leaves me feeling fulfilled.

2) Join the Lotus 7 Club… The club provides access to great technical support through the forums and the 10% discount at Halfords alone is likely to cover the cost of membership! I’m always (pleasantly) surprised by the response on the forum to technical questions and the wealth of knowledge available. With summer coming I look forward to joining more club events to meet more like minded petrol heads.

3) Redline Components… The guys at redline just offer a great service, Chris has big boots to fill taking this business on from John & Mick, but for my money he’s doing a great job even if he hasn’t worked out his members discount structure yet! Cold in winter… A quick Blat up Fish Hill and out to Stow just before Christmas (snow on the verges) confirmed to me there is no heat transfer through the tunnel without a heater. Three days later I went down with the usual lurgy that wiped me out over Christmas - it has been said (many times) that this was entirely down to my stupidity.

4) McMillan Motorsport… Another Caterham business that gives great service, best of all, they explain what they are doing and help you understand the car. Three hours in their workshop and the car was transformed with a suspension setup that suited my plans for the car and a new set of tyres. The car always handled well - but there was always the threat that a bump would throw you into the ditch if you weren’t paying absolute attention! As an added bonus the car even clears the speed bumps at Halfords!

5) Softbits Half-hood… Great accessory, having been caught in a hale storm without weather gear I ordered a half-hood from Softbits. Made to measure and delivered in 5 days and a really great British made product! Only advise I’d add is also buy some ear plugs - long runs with the roof on leave my ears ringing for hours!

6) Caterhams are made for the track… If the Caterham is fun on the road it is absolutely sublime on a track! The Lotus 7 Club Novices Trackday is the perfect event to give it a go - superbly organised and absolutely fantastic value for money! The support, encouragement and instruction ensured that by the end of the day I was cornering and lapping faster than I thought possible. Best of all is the experience of being on the track with just Caterhams, learning from others lines and pace without other bulky road cars to get in the way through the bends.

As a life-long car nut I now have a new hobby - Caterhams! With summer coming I look forward to joining more club events to meet more like minded petrol heads. Big thanks to all that have helped make the Caterham experience so far so much fun.

Andrew