Student Motorsport Challenge Set For Oulton Park Lift-Off

The inaugural season of the Student Motorsport Challenge gets underway at Oulton Park on April 9 with four teams set to contest the opening two rounds at the Cheshire circuit.

The Student Motorsport Challenge is an inter-series within the BRSCC Nankang Tyres CityCar Cup, a championship which itself was launched two years ago. The championship features 1.0-litre three-door models of the 2005-2014 Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 road cars which have been specced by development partners Essential Racing to be easily self-built. Fully compliant cars can be bought ready to race for around £7,000.00 or can be built from donors with parts supplied by Essential Racing.

The Student Motorsport Challenge entrants will join the same grid as the CityCar Cup contestants and will compete for class and well as overall honours. Apart from the challenge of setting up a race team and competing on-track, Student Motorsport Challenge teams will also be providing real-world industry experience to their team members and competing for a series of awards for off-track work.

Taking to the track for the opening weekend of the 18-round championship will be teams from East Surrey College, Greater Brighton Metropolitan College, Coleg Gwent and Sheffield Hallam Karting Society.

East Surrey College, led by George Keith, will be entering its black Peugeot 107 sponsored by Bossdog Grapics. Andy Burgess will be driving for the Redhill-based team.

George Keith with students from East Surrey College.

George Keith, East Surrey College: “We are very much looking forward to racing at Oulton Park. We’ve had two tests and now we’re ready. We’re taking ten students with us with some having worked together before and some not. We want to make sure we work well together as a team, do our best to make our driver as happy as possible and get a good result.

“We’ve got a good driver in Andy Burgess and he is working well with the team. He’s been on tests with the team and suggested adjustments which the team has used to develop the car. It’s great experience for our students to work with a proper driver.”

Greater Brighton Metropolitan College has entered its yellow Peugeot 107 under the team name MET Motorsport. Richard Jepp will be behind the wheel.

Team members from MET Motorsport at the Student Motorsport Pit Stop Challenge.

Emma Norton, MET Motorsport Team Principal: “We’re really excited! This is such a superb opportunity. The students have embraced the challenge of getting our CityCar Cup car ready with enthusiasm and drive so we’re excited to get track-side finally. We’re going to have some real racing experience which wouldn’t be possible without this type of competition with Student Motorsport.

“We’ve got a superb driver in Richard Jepp and it’s going to be a wonderful chance for the students to meet somebody who’s a real motorsport enthusiast who will bring his own experiences to the team.

“I want the team to have fun and to win! We’re definitely in it to win it!”

Sheffield Hallam University Karting Club is a recent entry to the Student Motorsport Challenge and will be campaigning a Citroen C1 with drivers Joe Miller and Nicholas van der Veen. Team Principal James Merrills sees entry into the Student Motorsport Challenge as a natural extension of the club’s karting activities.

Sheffield Hallam University Karting Club team members.

James Merrill, President – SHU Karting Club President: “There’s so much buzz around the whole team! The drivers are both Hallam graduates and I think it’s quite fitting that, for the inaugural season, we’ve got Hallam drivers in the seat. I think that what the Student Motorsport Challenge is doing for us, and what it will do for universities in the future, is that it outlines a career pathway for people who want to be motorsport professionals and gets us right under the noses of key decision makers in the industry. It’s a great networking event as well so the feeling the team is one of excitement.

“A lot of our mechanics have never been in a professional motorsport environment so it will be interesting to see how well they do. We’re doing a lot of preparation around reading regulations and we’re having a familiarisation session with the car before we travel to Oulton Park.

“We’ve not even been to the track yet or seen the car but there’s already a fantastic chemistry in the team so the feeling within the team is one of just excitement!”

John Paul ‘JP’ Latham, founder of Student Motorsport, and his management team have been working on getting the Student Motorsport Challenge on track for over 18 months. JP Latham is looking forward to seeing all the hard work pay off when the first Student Motorsport Challenge cars take to the track at Oulton Park.

JP Latham (centre) briefing students during the Challenge Activity Day.

John Paul ‘JP’ Latham, founder of Student Motorsport: “The opening weekend of the inaugural Student Motorsport Challenge is almost here and I couldn’t be prouder of the teams that we will see on the grid at Oulton Park and the teams preparing their entries to join us shortly. We expect the grid to grow quickly as other colleges and universities complete their builds.

“My Student Motorsport colleagues and I are determined to make this not only a fun and exciting championship to compete in but also, for the students involved, to provide meaningful and relevant work experience to assist them as they set out on their careers in professional motorsport.

“We wish all the Student Motorsport Challenge teams competing at Oulton Park this weekend the very best of luck and we hope you will enjoy the competition and the season ahead!” 

The 15-minute qualifying session for the opening rounds of the BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship incorporating the Student Motorsport Challenge gets underway at 08:55 on Saturday April 9 while the lights go out for the first of two 15-minute races over the weekend at 11:10. Race Two starts at 17:35 later on Saturday. All races of the CityCar Cup and Challenge will be broadcast live on BRSCC social channels and YouTube.