Hooning in a Caterham: Rookie Drifter Part 4

I’ve never driven a Caterham before, but I’ve always been curious. Especially when I see them flying around a track and overtaking whatever is in their path. So when I had a chat with Ben at Want2Race and he invited me to spend a day with the team at Donington drifting a Caterham 7 – obviously I jumped at the chance.

In between storms and with a horrendous cold I drove up to Donington Park, praying to the car gods for dry weather. I also dragged Chris Frosin with me to document my efforts and luckily it stayed dry – only raining in the morning to wet the track. There were a few of us taking part in Want2Race Drift Hero, all being instructed by Jay and his team. To start off Jay gave us a talk, introduced us to the cars, explained the course, strapped us in and sent us on our way. So immediately I got to know the car – a Caterham 7 Widebody with a 1.6 Ford Sigma engine – it’s power and how to (try and) drift it. With no hydraulic handbrake and a preference to avoid clutch-kicking this was a completely different way to learn to drift. So hooning around on my own in the car actually made me focus, figure out my limits pretty quickly, where I was going wrong and how great the car felt when I got it right. Taking it in turns with the other drivers allowed me to take a minute in between – regroup and get hooning again. Jay took me around a few times too – so I could see his technique, his steering especially because I found that tricky with the Caterham. I spent extra time doing donuts and figure of eights – to help me get to grips with that but even after driving for hours I still struggled with steering a bit, in that car.

Donington Park is a great place to be. I took my race license here and the facilities are really impressive. I enjoyed driving the Caterhams and I’d love to get one out on a track for some fun corners and straight line speed. Personally I prefer using a hydraulic handbrake and I think that’s what I struggled with particularly – along with steering. Jay and the team are really encouraging, their instruction is fantastic and I definitely improved. The trouble is in my mind I’m not improving quickly enough and I know once I finally get my own car finished and I have a vehicle I’m completely comfortable with – that’s when I will see some decent progress.

I would definitely go back for more time with Want2Race, my day with them enabled me to learn more and most importantly have fun. I love driving, hooning and training to eventually get into Gymkhana so much. I do just need to remember it’s all about fun – then I put less pressure on myself and actually take more on board. So now I just need to finish my MX5 and listen to my own advice!…

Photos by Chris Frosin.

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