More than 500 F1 hopefuls have launched their individual motor racing careers through the Caterham Academy since it was launched in 1995. But where are they now?
Ten years on, Caterham is celebrating its anniversary and planning to track down its graduates and put drivers back in touch with lost friends and co-competitors through a link with Friends Reunited.
Academy drivers from the Class of ’95 onwards are being invited to log onto www.friendsreunited.co.uk and simply click to find ‘My Team’, select ‘Motorsports Club’ and then type in ‘Caterham Academy’.
Caterham is hoping to hear from previous competitors including one clergyman, three pilots, 17 siblings, 32 company directors, 54 pensioners and 71 teenagers. During the past ten years 43 women have also gone wheel to wheel with their male counterparts to successfully attain their National Race B licence.
Managing director at Caterham Cars, Ansar Ali, said: "Ten years on and the Academy continues to capture the imagination of an enthusiastic community of novice motor racing drivers. For many it combines the chance to learn the craft in one of the most exciting and exhilarating vehicles around and provides an affordable foot-in-the-door to the UK motorsport arena."
Representing a unique offering among UK car manufacturers, the Academy is a single make Championship that steers drivers to race licence status by first providing race tuition and support. Then drivers can competitively race their privately owned, road legal, 120BHP 1.6i Caterham Roadsports against one another.
The Caterham Academy guides each competitor through a series of sprints and hill climbs before letting them compete head-to-head in four race events at circuits including Silverstone and Brands Hatch.
Increased popularity for the Academy has seen the number of participants grow from one grid of 28 cars in the first year to 56 competitors on two packed grids in 2005.
Many Academy competitors go on to race in the Caterham Graduate Series and Caterham Motorsport Championships whilst some are now racing in other production car events.
Today, the Caterham Seven is the most raced production car in the world with more than 700 cars in action most weekends around the globe from Brands Hatch to Bahrain.
Anyone interested in participating in the 2006 Caterham Academy Series should log onto www.caterham.co.ukPublished 13 September 2005