Student Motorsport Challenge Presented by P1 Graphics expands to a record 13-Car grid for 2024 Snetterton season opener

Silverstone 2023 - The Final Podium

The Student Motorsport Challenge Presented by P1 Graphics, part of the BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship, enters its third year of competition with a record grid of 13 cars for the season-opening weekend at Snetterton.

For Snetterton, the Student Motorsport Challenge is sponsored by P1 Graphics. Owned by Tom Pledger, P1 Graphics helps you connect with your fans on-track, online and in the paddock with high quality digital graphic design and social media creation. P1 Graphics will provide social media support to the Student Motorsport Challenge throughout the 2024 season.

P1 Graphics

The 2023 season saw the Student Motorsport Challenge providing not only fantastic on-track action and enthralling races but also the real-life motorsport experience that will enable the young women and men comprising the teams to pursue a career in professional motorsport.

For 2024, the Challenge opens with seven teams on the grid, five of which will be entering two cars, making a total of 12 entries competing for class and overall honours on the Snetterton 300 circuit.

After a challenging 2023, Harry O’Donogue’s Barracksport will be on the grid in Norfolk with two cars. 

Last year was not straightforward for the team that was flying high at the end of 2022. Duncan Horlor, who drove for the opening two weekends, stepped back to focus on his son’s karting career, after having stood on the Challenge podium for five of his six races. Team member Matty Prance took over the driving duties for the Anglesey rounds and took two 3rd-place finishes before experienced CityCar Cup competitor Andy Dyer stepped in for the remainder of the season. Unfortunately, contact for Dyer at Brands Hatch meant that the car was unable to take the start for race three at the Kent circuit and the team missed out on the following round.

Determined to make the season finale, Barracksport rented a car for Silverstone and Dyer took 4th in class in the opening race, securing a 5th-place finish in the Challenge standings.

For 2024, James Reilly joins the team to drive the Barracksport entry. Currently at the start of his racing career, James obtained his full race licence in the autumn of 2021 and raced with the C1 Racing Club in 2022. He has also driven in selected rounds of the BRSCC ClubSport Trophy, the SuperSport Endurance Cup and the CSCC Future Classics series. James lives in Canterbury and, in December 2023, competed in the C1 Eurocup of Portimão.

James Reilly
James Reilly Racing - C1 Endurance

James Smith returns to drive the Barracksport GSR (Grey Sheep Racing) entry for four rounds with team member Matty Prane stepping up for the remaining three race weekends. Prance proved his worth when he drove for the team at Anglesey in 2023, taking two class podiums on his Challenge debut.

James Smith - Barracksport GSR Driver
Barracksport GSR - Citroen C1

East Surrey College returns for 2024. Driver Jack Wheeler joined the Challenge in 2023 and quickly established himself as one of the quickest drivers in the series, taking 15 class podiums including five Challenge class wins on the way to driving George Keith’s East Surrey College squad to second in the 2023 Student Motorsport Challenge. Wheeler is back for East Surrey College in 2024 with the Redhill-based team will be now led by Jason Chapman, George Keith having taken on a new career challenge. With the pace that he displayed in the second half the season last year, Jack Wheeler must surely be considered one of the favourites to wrest the Challenge title from Team Northbrook Racing and Richard Jepp. 

East Surrey College Driver - Jack Wheeler enjoys success at Snetterton - July 2023
The East Surrey College Team at Silverstone Final (Photo: Sam Martin)

Team Northbrook Racing has won the Student Motorsport Challenge title in both 2022 and 2023. After securing the title in the last race of 2022, Richard Jepp dominated the class in the first half of 2023 and took 11 Challenge victories and a further seven podiums to clinch the series by 50 points from East Surrey College. 

Team Northbrook Racing - 2023 Challenge Title Winners (Photo: Sam Martin)
Team Northbrook Racing - 2023 Challenge Title Winners (Photo: Sam Martin)

For 2024, Jepp, hungry to retain his title and make it three-in-a-row for Emma Norton’s squad, will be joined by Ari Barker in an expanded two-car line-up. Barker, a 26-year-old Advanced Manufacturing Team Leader at Harwin PLC, is graduating to circuit racing after eight seasons of competing in karts and will make his Challenge debut at Snetterton.

Barker inherited his passion for motorsport from his father who is a keen competitor in Comp Safari Off-Road. Named after the 1981 World Rally Champion Ari Vatanen, Barker began competing in karts from the age of 18 and the last three seasons have seen him secure two top ten finishes in the Senior Rotax class. Jepp and Barker will make a formidable line-up as the team competes for Challenge honours in 2024.

Ari Barker - Fulbeck 2022

After finishing 4th in the 2023 Student Motorsport Challenge standings, Helen Snuggs’ QE Motorsport, the only squad in the Challenge paddock with team members of school age, will see a change in drivers for the new season. 2023 pilot Arthur Simondet has graduated to GT racing with MacG Racing in the British Endurance Championship while Haydn Payne moves from West Suffolk College to take over the vacant seat. The team will also add a second car to its line-up with Joshua Jackson joining Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate’s motorsport team for 2024. 

QE Motorsport - Team Principal - Liz Smith-Dodsworth

Payne, son of West Suffolk College driver Andrew Payne, gained confidence and experience over the 2023 season and took his first podium in class at Brands Hatch in August as he drove the #38 WSC entry to third place in the 2023 series standings. Payne Jr showed glimpses of his potential last season and, with a year’s experience behind him, will be keen to show what he can do when he joins his new team at Snetterton.

Haydn Payne - West Suffolk College

Joshua Jackson competed in selected rounds of the 2023 BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship and drove the Will Snuggs’ #27 Citroen C1 to 23rd in the overall drivers’ standings and 6th in Novice class. More news on Joshua’s 2024 Student Motorsport Challenge campaign will follow. 

West Suffolk College, who finished third in the 2023 Student Motorsport Challenge, will be expanding its team to campaign two cars for the new season with a driver line-up of Brady Pollock and Andrew Payne.

WSC student Bardy Pollock is currently in his final year studying for a Motorsport Diploma Level Three with the objective of working full-time in professional motorsport. The 18-year-old began his driving career in karts in 2020 and has competed in Club 100 and Club 2000 contests in addition to driving for JLCD Racing. 

Brady Pollock - Karting

Andrew Payne is an experienced BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup competitor, having raced in the series for the past two seasons and finishing 16th in the overall standings in 2023. In addition to his full-time job, Andrew is an ARDS Grade B instructor and works with The Motorsport School signing off students for their race licenses. 

Andrew Payne - ARDS Instructor

Boston College Racing, led by Lee Crisp, is also expanding to a two-car entry for 2024. The team, who joined the Challenge for the 2023 season, took two class victories at Donington on their way to finishing 6th in the Challenge standings. For the new season, BCR has two new drivers. Rory Pickles will be joining the squad for his first season of circuit racing. The 16-year-old will be studying at Boston College in September and was introduced to motorsport when his parents bought him a kart in 2022. Pickles’ driving talent was spotted by a team owner who encouraged the then-14-year-old to compete. Pickles was victorious in his first race and has gone on to develop his driving skills both in his kart and also behind the wheel of a Clio RS 200 under the tutelage of Marc Kemp at Blyton Park.

Rory Pickles Karting

Rory Pickles will be partnered with highly experienced racer and instructor Nick Abbott. Nick has been racing for 30 years and has recently competed in Rallycross alongside his instructing duties in supercars and work with Mission Motorsport.

The combination of a young prodigy and an experienced mentor should make the journey of BCR in the 2024 Student Motorsport Challenge a fascinating story to follow throughout the year.

City College Norwich is a new name to the Student Motorsport Challenge but its Team Principal Leon Wilde is no stranger to CityCar Cup competition as he was the first entrant with West Suffolk College to enter the then-fledgling series in 2022. Wilde took up his new position as Head of Engineering at City College Norwich mid-way through 2023 and will be bringing the Norfolk-based campus to the SMo Challenge in 2024 with the benefit of a season-and-a-half’s experience.

Leon Wilde
Leon Wilde in his Student Motorsport Challenge Car

In addition to leading the team, Wilde returns to the driving seat and will be joined by Lecturer of Engineering and colleague Glenn Bee in the team’s second entry. Bee’s love of motorsport began in the 1980s when he was a race mechanic in the Production Saloon Car Championship. Supporting his son at the start of his karting career, Bee always wanted to get out on track himself and finally prepared an MX5 for track-day use. Glenn was finally persuaded by Challenge organiser John Paul ‘JP’ Latham to acquire his own car in readiness for the 2024 season and, at Snetterton, Bee will be on the grid for his first ever competitive race.

Glenn Bee

For Student Motorsport founder and Challenge series organiser John Paul ‘JP’ Latham, Snetterton will be a proud moment.

“I cannot believe that we are now at the start of the third season for the Student Motorsport Challenge and that the grid is set for a record 13 cars with the promise of more to come as the year progresses!” he said.

John Paul Latham with BRSCC's CityCar Cup Co-ordinator Lyndsay Close

“I must extend my sincere thanks to P1 Graphics and Tom Pledger for his sponsorship of the opening round. Social and creative media is vital to our outreach and marketing and Tom has done a fantastic job for the Challenge both last year and in preparation for 2024.

“The growth we are seeing in the series proves that the Challenge delivers what we set out to do in 2022 and that is to provide meaningful, real-life, track-side motorsport experience to enable young motorsport professionals to progress to full-time careers in motorsport. 

“The on-track competition in 2024 should be the best we have seen in the Challenge and, although Team Northbrook Racing and Richard Jepp will be very hard to beat, there are now a number of drivers that I believe could compete for class honours throughout the year.

“I am very much looking forward to meeting all our competitors and team members, old and new, when the season gets underway at Snetterton this weekend and I can’t wait for the track action to start!”

Track action for the 2024 Student Motorsport Challenge, part of the BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship, opens with a 15-minute qualifying session at 9.55am on Saturday April the 6th followed by the first of three 15-minute contests at 1.45pm later that afternoon.