Garage update

Quick update

Much earlier than required wit ha June 2016 scheduled delivery, I have been getting my garage in order before the big day.

I cleared it completely, upset my wife considerably by storing most of the contents in rooms downstairs, and then had the grey breeze blocks painted white, and the concrete floor sealed in anticipation of fitting some light grey floor tiles from PlasFloor.


I purchased 760 small light grey tiles at the end of December 2014, but then never quite got round to fitting them. The tile choice was based on a BlatChat conversation, with quite a few folk happy with this option. Essentially, they are thinner, harder, and more hard-wearing than typical domestic options available currently.

They were easy to lay, but unfortunately I got to the last box and noticed that the tiles were suddenly a different shade of light grey and I didn’t want to continue fitting them. As you can see from the picture below, 3 blocks of 4 x 4 tiles are obviously not colour matched compared to the rest. The rubber mallet is sort of pointing at the offending tiles in the following picture.


Its such a shame, because I couldn’t quite finish the job over the weekend, but now have replacements ready to fit before Christmas.

Which means that the house will stop looking like a garage, and my wife starts smiling again 😉

Next Steps

I have found some UPVC skirting board suitable for garages, and it also has the added benefit of having inner and outer corner joints as separate components, so I don’t need to make a meal out of mitring joints at corners. And for such a simple room, there are 5 inner corners and 3 outers.

Beyond that I’m going to get some units built up along the back wall and some work space sorted, plus acquire the nice Halfords tool boxes when they are next on discount in the New Year – probably these ones, and refit a big notice board, and some other hanging storage.

Soon I will have nothing to do other than wait!

Build slot and delivery schedule

My build slot is week 16 2016, so the 3rd week in April next year. It takes 8 weeks from that point to get the chassis built, paint work and body skin sorted, and all those big brown boxes filled with the parts (hopefully without shortages). 

This means that the delivery target is week 24, so mid-June. If this goes according to plan, and the average 100 hour build takes about 3 months of weekend/evening work, then I’m looking at a September completion. Provided I can time the Post Build Check and IVA right. Oh, and provided I can actually build the thing without getting my knickers in a twist. 

Which means plans a group of friends and I have for a week in Scotland “doing” the Highlands 500 tour will either have to wait until September, or I passenger or hire a car for the event. Damn. 

It also means that realistically I should be able to run it in before winter sets in and I go into hibernation. I may even get a Sept/Oct track day scheduled before the end of the year. 

Other than the experience of the build, 2016 is going to be a quiet season of Caterham ownership for me. The upside is that I’m not freezing my nuts off in a winter build, and I am already imagining long summer  days with a beer in hand in the evenings and balmy sunshine as a backdrop…

Man Maths and pies

So now the gearbox is sorted and the order is underway I got to thinking that it’s the nut behind the wheel that has the biggest impact on track performance. I have so much to learn in this area that it probably makes the 5-speed/6-speed debate I have been in mental turmoil over a bit of a storm in a tea cup.

After a bunch of years on track days, I know that the most important things to sort are:

  • Driver skill
  • Car setup (suspension, tracking etc.)
  • Tyres and pressures
  • Weight (driver – pies and beer)

I can deal with 3 out of the above 4 fairly easily. And no, the pie/beer problem is not the biggest challenge.

Driver skill is the one I’m going to aim for big improvements in 2016/2017. And the man maths part of this blog title? Well, here goes…the money I saved by not going for the 6-speed would be better spent (if I’m allowed!!) on a VBox set up in car.

The kit I have my eye on it the VBox Lite plus OLED predictive timer and 2 bullet cameras. The current RRP is around £1400. Check out their kit at VBox web store.

I feel that this kit installed, in conjunction with some good tuition and data analysis will be my goal, but timing wise it’s likely to be pie in the sky until 2017.

Gearbox update part 2

I don’t think asking on Blatchat helped my decision making regarding which gearbox to select. What it did do is give me more insight around the technical differences between the two, and helped me understand the theory a little more. 
In the end a chat with Caterham solved the problem. I spoke to Greg at BookATrack, their newly hired Sales Exec, who comes from Caterham Midlands and more recently Caterham South. In the space of a ten minute conversation he set my mind at rest and I know that for me I have made the right decision. 

Basically the bottom line is that most employees at Caterham who have driven both gearbox variants favour the new Mazda 5-speed. It’s apparently a “sweeter” box and the majority of recent builds have used it. It’s perfectly good for a mix of track and road, and an anecdotal story about another owner sealed the deal. Basically this other guy bought the 5-speed with the aim of trying and swapping out later for track work. A few months later he decided that he liked the 5-speed so much he was going to stick with it. His driving profile mirrors mine. 

Oh and the icing on the decision cake was that if I chose the 6-speed there would have been a much longer wait for a build slot as they have a shortage right now, and none are in stock. It would have added at least 2 months to the schedule. 

Problem solved, order confirmed, build slot agreed, delivery slot target week agreed.