The Student Motorsport Challenge, the inter-series within the BRSCC Nankang CityCar Cup Championship, moves to Snetterton, Norfolk for rounds three and four of its 18-round series on Sunday May 21.
The CityCar Cup Championship features 1.0 litre 3-door models of the 2005-2014 Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 with technical regulations designed to ensure that not only do all cars deliver equal track performance, they also look, sound, handle and feel like ‘proper’ race cars.
The Student Motorsport (SMo) Challenge was introduced for the 2022 season as an intra-championship competition where college and university teams build and race CityCar Cup cars in the main championship whilst competing with each other for special awards.
Four teams took to the grid for the opening weekend of the SMo Challenge at Oulton Park on April 9; East Surrey College, Coleg Gwent, MET Motorsport (Brighton Metropolitan College) and SHU Karting (Sheffield Hallam University). For rounds three and four at Snetterton, the grid will expand to six with the addition of West Suffolk College and Coleg Gwent Newport.
West Suffolk College has entered its Toyota Aygo to be driven by Team Principal Leon Wilde and the Coleg Gwent Newport Citroen C1 will be piloted by lecturer George Jones, making his circuit racing debut at Snetterton.
After the opening two rounds at Oulton Park, the SMo Challenge is led by East Surrey College with its #57 Peugeot 107 driven by Andy Burgess. Burgess took two victories at the Cheshire circuit, finishing 15th and 6th in the overall field. Andy Burgess currently heads the standings on 30 points, six points ahead of the #23 Coleg Gwent Peugeot 107 driven by Dan Lockett.
Completing the top three in the SMo Challenge standings is the #25 SHU Karting Citroen C1 driven at Oulton Park by Joe Miller on 20 points.
MET Motorsport had a frustrating start to its season with its #65 Peugeot when Richard Jepp made contact with the barriers at the end of Race One. Damage meant that the #65 car was unable to take to the grid for Race Two and the South Coast-based team left Oulton Park yet to score a point.
The team immediately sourced a new chassis and have been working flat-out to get the new car prepared for Snetterton.
Team Principal Emma Norton is determined that the team will not fall behind in the championship standings.
“The team has done an amazing job,” said Emma Norton. “They’ve worked really hard to ensure we’re back and ready to go again. It was important that we could join the grid again as soon as possible as we don’t want to lose any more points. The build was slightly easier this time as we knew exactly what components we would need to source in advance so we weren’t waiting for parts to arrive.
“We’re really looking forward to going racing again at Snetterton. Richard Jepp is excited about the idea of getting back on track and we have a car that will be better than the previous one. We’ve got some exciting developments this week.”
Coleg Gwent Newport has had to work quickly to get its Citroen C1 prepared for Snetterton and Lecturer and Team Principal George Jones is excited to see the car lap for the first time in Norfolk.
“It’s been a whirlwind these last couple of weeks to get a car from a sponsor to getting all of the components installed,” said George Jones. “The students have been working flat out to get the car ready and I know they’re really keen to get to the race track after all their hard work. There have been a lot of late nights and staff have been doing the same so it’s been a real collaborative effort.
“I’ll be sharing Team Manager responsibilities with my colleague Rob Morse as I will be driving. Snetterton will be a big challenge for me as a driver but I’m very excited. We’ve felt the pressure of getting everything ready for our first race weekend and I’m looking forward to getting this race under our belts. We will then have four weeks leading up to the next round to put some plans in place.
“Our target for the first two races is to finish and use them as a benchmark to work on for the next rounds. We want to finish, enjoy it and go safely as well. Those are our objectives for Snetterton.”
West Suffolk College, led by Leon Wilde, were one of the first to enter the SMo Challenge and are looking forward to racing for the first time in rounds three and four.
“The students are very excited – they can’t wait to be there and be part of the team,” said Team Manager Leon Wilde. “There’s been a real build up of excitement and anticipation because this is something they’ve been working towards for a while now and Snetterton will be the first opportunity they’ve had to show the results of their work.
“The students and staff have really worked together to get us to this point and it has built the relationship between them in a very positive way.
“For me, this will be my first race and I want to go out there and race for my college so I hope to do well. I’m just going to give it my best shot and be as safe and competitive as possible.”
Andy Burgess, driver of the class-leading #57 East Surrey College Peugeot, is looking to improve his overall pace as the SMO Challenge moves to Snetterton.
“I hope we can be even more competitive at Snetterton,” said Andy Burgess. “When we visited Oulton, I hadn’t raced there for 15 years and we hadn’t really tested the car. However, I know Snetterton like the back of my hand and we went testing last week so I feel like I’m ‘on the money’ a bit more for rounds three and four.
“At Oulton Park, there were a few things that weren’t quite right but we’ve addressed all that now and hopefully we’ll be a bit more competitive. It’s a competitive series so I’m sure that the guys at the front will be quicker than they were at Oulton Park but you never know!”
Track action for rounds three and four of the BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship incorporating the Student Motorsport Challenge gets underway at Snetterton on Sunday May 22 with a 15-minute qualifying session at 08:00 followed by the first of two 20-minute races at 14:50.
Tickets can be purchased here.