The Student Motorsport Challenge, the inter-series which forms part of the BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship, returns to Snetterton for a triple-header weekend on July 22nd – 23rd. Rounds 10, 11 and 12 will be the Challenge’s second visit to race on the three-mile ‘300’ circuit in 2023, having first visited the iconic Norfolk circuit in April for the opening weekend.
The SMo Challenge will be sponsored at Snetterton by The Motorsports School. Owned by multiple championship winner and ARDS Vice Chairman Pete Edwards, The Motorsports School provides ARDS Race Licence, Junior and Advances ARDS courses alongside track day, race and instructor training. The Motorsports School operates from Mallory Park and Lydden Hill.
Student Motorsport and The Motorsport School have come together to introduce extended driver and team training as part of the SMo Challenge’s longer-term aim of ‘doing motorsport better’. Together with Student Motorsport, The Motorsport School will be providing an extended drivers briefing for Challenge drivers, in addition to the BRSCC briefing. The Motorsport School will also be offering a prize of an extended driver and team training day which includes the opportunity to drive and analyse both the race car and the driver at one of their UK venues.
“The Motorsports School is delighted to team up with Student Motorsport within the CityCar Cup,” said owners Melanie and Pete Edwards. “Since its introduction in 2022, we can see that the Student Motorsport Challenge has developed significantly. We are proud to be part of the SMo Challenge and supporting their ongoing opportunities for the Challenge teams and drivers.
“Over the coming weeks and months, we will be working with SMo teams to develop their drivers track-driving skills, techniques and etiquette and we will be focusing on many different areas that no one else does.
“We will aim to support the team that needs it most with our sponsored prize. Together with Student Motorsport we will judge the winner over the weekend and make a choice and announcement in due course.
“Driven by our shared passion for the sport, our mission is to keep motorsport fun, improve standards and support everyone to meet a minimum industry standard.”
Seven Student Motorsport Challenge teams will be on the grid at Snetterton with three teams missing from the record ten entries at Anglesey. Coleg Gwent Newport and Menai Motorsports will both be absent this weekend due to scheduling clashes and will be returning later in the season. The #49 Barracksport GSR Citroen will also be unable to race this weekend after the car sustained significant damage last time out at Anglesey. A new shell has been acquired and the #11 car is currently being rebuilt. Tech entrepreneur and #11 Barracksport GSR driver James Smith intends to be back on track for the Brands Hatch rounds in July.
With the 2023 BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship season now approaching the half-way mark, Team Northbrook Racing and its driver Richard Jepp hold a 61-point lead in the SMo Challenge standings, following a run of class victories that began with the opening round and was only broken during the third race at Anglesey when East Surrey College’s Jack Wheeler took his debut Challenge win.
“The team has been working extremely hard since Anglesey, repairing some heavy damage we took in the last race of the weekend,” said Richard Jepp. “The students have been working on the car in their own time, supervised by lecturers, to ensure the car is where it needs to be ahead of this weekend’s racing at Snetterton. I can’t thank them enough for their efforts.
“With the freshly built rear end, we should be right back on the pace and hopefully I can get the team some silverware to repay them for their efforts. Snetterton is a track we have gone well at in the past although this weekend looks like it might be a wet one, which should make things interesting,”
After taking their first win of the current season at Anglesey, George Keith’s East Surrey College squad are eager to continue that momentum as the Challenge visits Norfolk.
“ESC Motorsport is looking forward to our second visit of the year to Snetterton,” said Team Principal George Keith. “The team, driver, students and staff are looking to secure second in the Challenge, after having won in the last race at Anglesey.
“The excellent development of team-working skills is creating good success for the team and sponsors and we would like to extend a huge thank you to our sponsors Bossdog, MCL Cohort and LKQ Euro Car Parts. Good luck to Jack Wheeler!”
QE Motorsports (Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate), the only team comprised of pupils of school age, will be entering their third race weekend of the year, having made their debut at Croft. Driver Arthur Simondet is looking forward to the challenge of familiarising himself with the three-mile Norfolk race track.
“This will be a new circuit for me, having missed rounds 1 – 3 from the first race meeting at Snetterton,” said the French born, Texas-raised and now London-based driver Arthur Simondet. “This means a full-day’s testing on Friday for the QE Motorsports team to get everything in order ready for the busy Saturday.
“Right now, we’re top five in the Student Motorsport Challenge which is great to see with only two race meetings worth of points contributions. Our long-game strategy is working – we want to maintain and field a reliable car and I have to finish races. I’m happily sitting in 14th in the overall standings but I’m focused on the Top Novice slot just two places above me as Novice of the Year is my goal personally. I think our strategy in the Challenge will work broadly for both targets.”
With the Barracksport GSR car unable to compete at Snetterton, Harry O’Donoghue’s Oxford-based squad will be reduced to a single car entry for Snetterton. Duncan Horlor, driver of the #11 Barracksport Citroen C1, has decided to step away from the Student Motorsport Challenge for the remainder of the season to support his son whose karting career is now taking precedence. Duncan Horlor’s vacant seat will be taken over by Andrew Dyer.
Dyer has considerable experience in the CityCar Cup Championship, having competed in the series since its inception in 2021. The 2022 season saw Andrew Dyer take three victories on his way to finishing second in the overall standings. Dyer’s racecraft, combined with the tenacity and enthusiasm of Barracksport, will surely make for a potent combination and we should expect to see the #11 car at the sharp end of the grid during the weekend.
“It’s a real shame not to have James Smith and his car at Snetterton this weekend,” said Harry O’Donoghue. “After his crash at Anglesey, the car sustained a lot of damage which, unfortunately, has not been able to be repaired in time. James is absolutely fine and I would like to thank everyone on behalf of James and the team for their kind words.
“We are really excited to have Andy Dyer in the #11 car and hopefully we can get him to stay for the rest of the season, too. We’re not giving up on the Student Motorsport Challenge Championship 1st place trophy just yet!”
West Suffolk College will travel to their home circuit with Haydn Payne preparing for his second weekend with Alan Barrett’s squad. Two 6th place finishes in class combined with a 7th means that the #72 Toyota currently lies 4th in the SMo Challenge standings. With a race weekend’s worth of experience behind him, Payne will now be looking to move further up the Challenge grid at Snetterton.
Boston College Racing enjoyed a successful debut weekend in the SMo Challenge at Anglesey with Liam Browning taking his first class podium in the opening race. With Browning’s experience as a driver and his specialist knowledge in the set-up of CityCars, Boston College Racing could well surprise the grid again with podium finishes on their just their second weekend in the Challenge.
After a trouble-free weekend at Anglesey, Emilia Vincent and Wiltshire College and University Centre will be looking forward to rounds 10, 11 and 12 in Norfolk. The young Wiltshire College graduate was delighted with her 5th place finish in class in Wales and is clearly enjoying the opportunity to compete in a national championship. Now approaching their third weekend in the Challenge, Wiltshire College and University Centre will have their sights set on fighting for 5th place in the SMo Challenge standings, currently held by QE Motorsports who hold a 20-point advantage.
For Student Motorsport founder and series organiser, John Paul ‘JP’ Latham, the support of The Motorsports School represents a significant development for the Student Motorsport Challenge.
“Firstly, I must say huge thank you to Melanie and Pete Edwards and everybody at The Motorsports School for their support of the Student Motorsport Challenge,” said JP Latham. “Their involvement and guidance will provide even more value to our teams as a result of the information, briefings and coaching that they can provide. The Student Motorsport Challenge exists to provide the next generation of motorsport professionals with real-world racing experiences and the knowledge of The Motorsports School will be invaluable to all our students, drivers and team principals.
“To provide even more valuable motorsport experience, we will also be offering up to two members of each SMo Challenge team the opportunity to observe at close quarters how a Supersport Endurance Cup team operates at a race weekend. Learners will be able to join the drivers briefing and additional preparation with the BRSCC as well as observe pitstops during the series’ two-hour race. Our grateful thanks go to BRSCC Event Operations Manager Charlotte White for helping us to arrange this amazing opportunity and, of course, to the Supersport Endurance Cup Championship for providing the experience to our learners.
“With the season approaching the half-way point, Team Northbrook Racing and Richard Jepp hold a commanding lead in the Student Motorsport Challenge standings but, with ten rounds remaining, anything could happen. With teams gaining experience with every minute of track time and drivers such as Andrew Dyer and Liam Browning joining the grid, we can expect close, exciting racing as we make our second visit to Snetterton in 2023.”
Track action for the BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup incorporating the Student Motorsport Challenge gets underway at Snetterton with qualifying at 9.25am on Saturday July 22nd with two 15-minute contests taking place in the afternoon.
The green flag drops for Race Three on Sunday at 11.25am.