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Best spec for track/racing

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Have eyed sevens for years, and now looking to get back on the track after a gap. Have some experience wheel-wheel racing with Porsche Owners Club so hoping for a field and not just lapping/time trials.  I see there is some caterham racing action in NorCal/Oregon/Washington, but I don't seem to be able to find much in SoCal. Anyone doing something like this currently, and if so, what racing body, and what spec of caterham? Thanks

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Welcome to USA7s!


If you are planning to race then you need to find the right series/class in the group you want to join. That will dictate the spec of a car you will run. 


So SCCA will have you run with Miatas.  The Caterham will be a standard S3 with a 2L Zetec engine at a very conservative tune.  While there are a few drivers on here who have done incredibly well it is an uphill slog given the numbers of Miatas and the rules arguably favoring them.  The SCCA site would have the rule spec for that Caterham.


The Caterham racing in PNW is organized by Bruce Beachman of Beachman Racing.  He would love more participation but it is obviously not located by you.  They are running Caterham 420 race spec.  So thats actually more like the old R300 spec (180-190hp Duratec) and not the same as the road spec 420R.  He has other rules in place about gearbox - no sequential from memory but you would have to approach him directly. 


As for other groups that race in CA, I am unfamiliar with them.  If it were NASA like we have out east, then a Caterham of any spec just picks its correct class and off you go.  However, they are not that competitive under what I see in NASA.  EMRA is the same. 


So that leaves me with a bit of a wild card option.  There are a few on here who have 1980s (or possibly 90s) era Caterhams and are running in vintage racing with cross flow engines, T-9 gearboxes and clamshells.  Not particularly correct but there you are.  You could always go true vintage - few suitable cars available on the classifieds now.  There is a great classic race scene in CA.  You would be able to be competitive from day 1 and its probably cheaper and more fun than going SCCA.   


I am surprised that you are running with Porsche group as Caterhams (or any se7en for that matter) were banned from their groups in the NE and MA after a USA7s member had an oops at Lime Rock.  Not really a fan of the group to be honest as I am used to seeing a lot of poor driving as some Wall Street type buys a mega buck car then predictably runs out of talent into a fence at NJMP on the third lap. 


Do you own a se7en now? 

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For wheel-to-wheel racing in Southern California, VARA is the most straightforward route. We have some experience with their rules there as we are preparing a customer CSR for that series. In general, for running a Seven, there are three different spec recipes you could entertain: (i) true vintage racing (S1 or S2 Super Seven prepped to historic racing rules), then (ii) the tweener spec Croc alluded to above (aka, the old Super Seven Challenge Series spec from the 1990s, with clamshells, T9, crossflow, etc.) and then (iii) finally the modern spec, which has a class to run in called Club Racer (CR). This class is kind of a Formula Libre "catch all" class, and still requires full race prep, fuel cell, safety equipment, etc., but it is how one would run a full fat Caterham such as an R500, 420 Cup, or CSR. This does mean running against whatever else the CR class is pitted against -- stuff like old IMSA GT1s would be expected -- but on some of the California courses a properly driven Caterham can spring some surprises.


Happy to walk through in more detail -- PM and we can help.

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Croc, I ran a couple 911s with POC... good racing, actually, but it's been a long time so not sure what they're up to now. Running costs were high then, and must be eye watering now. Never had a seven but always had a soft spot for them 


Colorado, I'll have to think about vintage vs modern... maybe I'll pop out to a VARA race. 

Thanks for the replies 

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Thanks for chiming in Josh.


4 hours ago, Colorado7er said:

...we are preparing a customer CSR for that series.


I thought that was your CSR?  What cars is it up against?  IMSA GT1 is like my BMW CSL race car?

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Wish it was mine, Mike! It will be running in Group 3, which has a lot of variety. It's basically the Big Bore group, so in addition to the usual historics like A-Prod 427 Corvettes and pre-72 big block iron, Group 3 will also include the odd DTM spec M3, Nascar road-course cars, as well as things like 1990s era Trans Am Mustangs, or ex Challenge Series Ferrari 355. It's basically a catch-all run group. A lot of straight line power in that group, but also a lot of mass -- so a 200-odd bhp Caterham is still a dark horse in that crowd. There's not enough depth of any one class to have dedicated run groups, so that run group ends up pretty eclectic. At least there's a place to run a modern 420 spec or higher Seven. Most vintage clubs are pretty restrictive. Our club in Colorado (RMVR) would, at best, allow a modern Seven to run as an exhibition car, restricted to max 2 events per year.

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