The Redhill-based squad needs a win and a sixth to be crowned champions at the home of British motorsport.
The Student Motorsport Challenge, the inter-series for college and university teams within the 2022 BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship, heads for Silverstone, the home of British motorsport, for its season finale on October 15th– 16th.
Seven SMO Challenge entries will be on the grid for the rounds 16, 17 and 18 which will comprise three 20-minutes contests around the 1.85 miles of the International circuit.
There is only one change to the entries that competed at Croft in the previous rounds. Mark Pope replaces Dan Lockett behind the wheel of the #23 Coleg Gwent (Blaenau) Peugeot 107. The #23 entry currently lies fourth in the standings on 114 points (adjusted for dropped scores).
Heading into the final weekend of the season, East Surrey College, with its #57 Peugeot 107 driven by Andy Burgess, leads the standings on 162 points, 15 ahead of the #65 MET Motorsport (Greater Brighton Metropolitan College) Peugeot piloted by Richard Jepp.
Andy Burgess had dominated the series and taken the class victory in every race the team entered up to the point that Ben Creanor took over the driving duties in the #77 OBU Student Challenge entry. Burgess, an Aston Martin Product Specialist, may have been frustrated at the previous rounds at Croft after a string of seven victories and a second place became a trio of third place finishes.
Burgess, however, only needs a win and a sixth-place finish to secure the inaugural Student Motorsport Challenge title and so must be the favourite as the series moves to Northamptonshire.
“I’m looking forward very much to hopefully clinching the Student Motorsport Challenge title for East Surrey College this weekend,” he said.
“I will be giving it my all at Silverstone on a track I’m certainly more familiar with than Croft! I will be focused on three wins to seal it!”
Richard Jepp, behind the wheel of the #65 MET Motorsport Peugeot, has enjoyed a solid season in the SMo Challenge, despite enduring some challenges along the way. Damage at the end of the opening race at Oulton Park meant the team had to secure a second chassis and prepare it rapidly in order to get the Portsmouth-base driver out on track for the second weekend at Snetterton.
The team then had the frustration of a scrutineering issue at Snetterton in July, resulting in the car missing the opening race. Despite that, Jepp has brought the yellow Harwin and Amigo Wraps-sponsored car home for six second-place finishes and three further podiums. Combined with the three class victories for the team in the hands of Andrew Jones, Emma Norton’s Sussex-based squad now sit second in the standings with a good chance of taking the title at Silverstone.
Richard Jepp is very much looking forward to the three races in Northamptonshire.
“I can’t believe we are stepping into the final race weekend of the season already.” said Richard Jepp. “There have been many highs for us at MET Motorsport and also some lows but we have learnt so much and used every situation in a positive way. To be in contention for the Student Motorsport Challenge title is an amazing achievement in itself and shows just how well the team have worked together throughout the year.
“I will be doing everything I can to bring home that title, for the team and the college but also for our sponsors Harwin and Amigo Customs who have supported us throughout the season.”
Currently third in the standings, the #77 OBU Student Challenge (Oxford Brookes) crew with Ben Creanor behind the wheel of its red Citroen sponsored by Creanor Fleet Transport and MHR Teamwear needs to take all three class victories in order to be in with a realistic chance of securing the title. Although it sounds like a tall order, the young Dunfermline driver surprised the whole grid with his three class wins and outright podiums, including an overall victory, last time out at Croft. We should expect nothing less than ‘maximum attack’ from Oxford Brookes when the cars hit the track for qualifying on Saturday.
“I’ve really enjoyed my first season with Student Motorsport and the guys at OBU,” said Ben Creanor. “We’ve had a lot of fun and the guys have come on leaps and bounds. To have a 60-point deficit and fight back to being an outside shot at the title is a massive achievement in itself, never mind any of our other achievements this year.
“Regardless of the outcome they can be proud of what they’ve done this year and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of us.”
Coleg Gwent (Blaenau) currently sit fourth in the standings with Leon Wilde’s West Suffolk College crew just 11 points further back. Wilde’s race craft and experience have increased massively over the course of the season and the crew of the #26 car will have their sights set on a fourth-place finish in the series.
Joe Miller returns for SHU Karting and will be looking to build on his results at Croft where he produced a trio of seventh-place finishes. Only 24 points behind fifth-placed West Suffolk College, the Sheffield Hallam crew will be looking to move up the standings table as the season draws to a close.
Student Motorsport Founder and SMo Challenge organiser John Paul ‘JP’ Latham is excited both about the race for the title at Silverstone as well as the opportunities the weekend will offer teams and potential new entrants.
“I’m really looking forward to the Student Motorsport Challenge season finale at Silverstone this weekend,” said JP Latham. “The emotion that we’re taking from Croft into the remaining three races is going to increase exponentially. Although East Surrey College must be the title favourite, there are still two more teams – MET Motorsport and OBU Student Challenge – who can potentially lift the overall title trophy so all the track activity will be highly focused and competitive.
“I’m excited for all the teams and students who will be out in full force this weekend. It is hugely gratifying to see evidence of the validation of what the Challenge has brought to education in motorsport. What better place to illustrate this than at the home of UK motorsport and the British Grand Prix?
“The opportunity to meet potential new teams in the garage and demonstrate first-hand how the Challenge operates will, we hope, help cement the growth of the series and catapult us into what will be a really exciting 2023 season.”
Track action for rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the 2022 BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship, incorporating the Student Motorsport Challenge, gets underway on the Silverstone International Circuit with a 15-minute qualifying session at 10:45 on Saturday October 15th. Two 20-minute races follow on the Saturday; one at 15:05 and again at 17:25.
The lights go out for the final race of the season at 12:05 on Sunday October 16th.
Live timing with circuit commentary can be found at www.tsl-timing.com.