Wednesday, 25 January 2012

How to get into a Caterham Academy car and drive off

Plenty of room.  Don't know what you mean?

The car is very simple indeed, with no unnecessary fripperies to distract you. So, getting in and driving off is perfectly simple and straightforward. As I will explain.

Go to the car, and unbuckle the sidescreen so that you can get a leg up from the chassis bar to climb over and lower yourself in via the top of the rollcage. Lean in and spread the harness straps - especially the big buckle, you don't want to sit on that. Climb up and lower yourself in vertically.

Stop halfway down when you remember that you need to take the steering wheel off. Pop it in the passenger side for now.

Carry on down so that your legs go into the footwell and you drop neatly into the seat. Pull the shoulder straps down over you, pull the buckle over and join it to the shoulder straps. Fumble around underneath your backside to look for the other lap strap. Release the shoulder straps so that you can lean to the left to let yourself grab the remaining lap strap, then settle back down as you latch it into the buckle.

Unlatch it from the buckle and sort out the twist in the strap. No, you need to untwist it the other way. Latch it again. Then latch the shoulder straps. Tighten them up nice and snug.

Now it's time to start the car. Get the ignition keys which are... oh, yes, they're in your trouser pocket. Undo the straps and arch your back in the seat so that you can retrieve them. Put the ignition key in the barrel and re-do the straps. You'll need to loosen them first so that they reach, that's ok, now you can buckle up and tighten them.

Loosen the straps again so that you can reach into the passenger footwell to retrieve the steering wheel. Lock it in place, and pull the straps tight again. Turn the ignition key, release the immobiliser, and hit the starter button.

Now we're ready to pull away. You just need to buckle up the sidescreen, so reach over your shoulder for the popper - no, not that far, you'll hurt yourself. OK, let's loosen the shoulder straps first and then buckle up the sidescreen. That's right. Now you can pull the straps tight.

Pop it into reverse and ease it out of the garage. Close the garage door with the remote keyfob - which pocket is it in? No, not that one. Try the other one. Or is it in your jacket? Yes, it's the jacket pocket, the one covered by the shoulder strap. Yes, you do need to loosen it first. Close the garage door, and you're ready to go. Once you've tightened the shoulder strap of course.

Does that feel like rain to you?


  1. The race-spec Seven I use has a tiny pedal box. Without race boots, it's impossible to drive without pressing both brake and accelerator at the same time, and I only take a size 9.

    Mind you, there's no fiddly side screens or ignition key - climb in through the top of the roll cage, buckle up, flick the ignition switch, press the start button, discover a big, silly grin across your face....

    1. Size 9 here, too... I have a pair of race boots now, but before then I used some very lightweight running shoes. The first journey (back home from Dartford) was done with my right foot cricked at an angle so that I could press the pedal with the side of my foot! In hindsight I should have just taken my shoes off. Mind you, by then I was strapped in with the roof on!

      discover a big, silly grin across your face....

      Yes, I should have mentioned that bit. Makes it all worth the effort!