About Caterham Graduates Racing

Caterham Racing

The Caterham Graduates series was started in 1998 by competitors from the 1997 Caterham Scholarship as a follow-on championship. In its first two years, it was a multi-discipline series, with the rounds being made up of sprints, hillclimbs, and circuit races, similar to the Caterham Scholarship format. The emphasis moved more and more towards circuit races, and from 2000-on the series has comprised solely of circuit races.

In 2001, the championship spawned a second class - Super Graduates - based on an up-rated Caterham Academy car. In 2003, Super Graduates became Mega Graduates and a new Super Graduate class was formed for the latest spec of standard ex-Academy cars (confusing, isn't it?). A fourth class was added for 2011: Sigma Graduates to cater for the then current Ford Sigma engine Caterham Academy cars. A fifth class - SigMax Graduates - was added in 2013 to accommodate upgraded Sigma cars that have added modifications permitted in the Caterham Tracksport and Supersport championships.

The cars in the series are genuinely road-going and indeed a few are driven to (and hopefully back from) races. Some are even used by drivers mid-week for transport to work and for shopping, needing no more than the covering up of competition numbers to make them road-legal. Very few changes from the standard specification are allowed, putting the emphasis firmly on driving ability rather than car development and set-up. Along with low consumable costs, this keeps the costs of running a car very much under control, making it one of the most cost-effective ways to go racing. The large grid sizes are a testament to this low-cost formula, with - for the last few years - well over 100 drivers registered for the championship across the five classes.

The championship is one of the largest in the country. The competitors come from a variety of backgrounds. A number have graduated from the novice Caterham Scholarship and Academy series, but these days many have made it their first foray into motorsport, or come to Caterhams from other race series. Past competitors include 2002 Super-Graduate runner-up Jon Barnes who started car racing with Caterham Graduates and went on to win the British GT championship in 2008, and Ollie Jackson who made his BTCC debut in 2011.

In all classes points are awarded thus: 30 for a win, 29 for 2nd place, 28 for 3rd place, right down to 3 points for finishing 28th or lower. And even a driver who fails to finish will still earn one point! At the end of the season, drivers drop their worst three scores, to allow for missing a race or two, or a DNF.

Race numbers represent a driver's performance in the previous season: the first ten numbers in each class range are reserved for those finishing in the previous year's top ten (For instance, Charles Elliott's number 105 indicates that he came fifth in Supers in 2014).

All classes run on Yokohama tyres. Classics race on list 1A A539s, whilst Sigmas, SigMax, Supers and Megas use the stickier list 1B A048R; all are limited to using only three sets of tyres for the whole season. George Polley Motorsport provide tyre service at selected rounds.

The championship enjoys sponsorship from Yokohama tyres, George Polley Motorsport, M&M Vehicle Repairs, MX Display, Rutherford Briant, REIS Insurance, ENW Electrical Engineering and ID:UK websites (Jamie Ellwood)

Classic Graduates

The cars in the Classic class are Caterham Seven Classics with live-rear axles and 1600cc 8-valve engines, producing around 100 bhp - cars which originally came from the Caterham Academy between 1995 and 2000. Engines are either from Vauxhall or Ford, but the old Ford Cross-Flow is a rarity in the series these days. The standard Graduates run on class 1A Yokohama A539s, ensuring a good balance of power-to-grip. Cars can be identified by green flashes front and rear, and green bars on the number squares.

Sigma Graduates

The Sigma Graduate class is for cars of 2008-2013 Caterham Academy specification. The only significant permitted changes are a swap to stickier Yokohama A048R tyres, an aeroscreen in place of the windscreen and an optional rear anti-roll bar. The cars have DeDion rear suspension. Cars have a 1600cc Ford Sigma engine producing around 120bhp.

Super Graduates

TThe Super Graduate class is for cars which originally came from the Caterham Academy between 2001 and 2007. The only significant permitted changes are a swap to stickier Yokohama A048R tyres, an aeroscreen in place of the windscreen and an optional rear anti-roll bar. The cars have DeDion rear suspension and a 1600cc Rover K-series engine producing around 125bhp

SigMax Graduates

The SigMax Graduate class is for upgraded Sigma-Graduates cars. From the basic Sigma-Graduates car, permitted changes and upgrades are any of those that have been permitted in any of the Caterham Cars’ Tracksport and Supersport championships.

Mega Graduates

The Mega Graduate is an upgrade of the Super Graduate car, with about 140bhp thanks to some controlled engine modifications. The cars are also allowed wide-track front suspension for better handling, an aeroscreen instead of a full windscreen and the deletion of headlights and rear lights.