The champion and prize-winners of the 2023 Student Motorsport Challenge season were honoured at the BRSCC Awards Night on Saturday December the 2nd, held this year at the East Midlands Conference Centre. (All images (c) James Roberst Photography)
Situated close to the campus of the University of Nottingham, the Conference Centre provided a spectacular setting within which to present awards and trophies to champions from many of the series that the BRSCC either sanctions or organises.
Hosted by Bryn Lucas, a voice well known to Student Motorsport Challenge competitors from his commentary and pit-lane interview work, the evening opened with a reception followed by the presentation of the awards and a sumptuous three-course dinner.
Drivers, team managers and staff from many of the SMo Challenge entries were present on the night and, in addition to the awards ceremony, were entertained with music and dancing into the small hours.
2023 SMo Challenge title winners Team Northbrook Racing were represented by driver Richard Jepp, Team Manager Emma Norton and lecturer and technician Mark Stafford. Richard Jepp was also awarded his trophy for his third-place finish in the overall BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship standings.
Team manager George Keith accepted the award for East Surrey College’s second-place finish in the standings and Alan Barrett, who took over the West Suffolk College Team Principal role from Leon Wilde after the Croft rounds, accepted the award for the college’s third-place finish.
In addition to the recognition for on-track performances, there were additional awards for the Student Motorsport Challenge grid. Focused on six separate disciplines, each award had its own criteria for success.
Race Car Build: One of the elements of a race team essential to the success of the driver and on-track performance is a well-built-race car. Teams were assessed on criteria such as build quality, reliability, performance, safety and conformance to technical regulations. The 2023 award for Race Car Build was presented to East Surrey College.
Car Preparation: For this award, teams were assessed on their ability to consistently prepare a race car to a professional standard, ready for competition. The judging criteria included elements such as planning, budgeting, tooling, damage repair and livery. The award was presented by Student Motorsport founder John Paul ‘JP’ Latham to Lee Crisp’s Boston College Racing.
Media Activity: With the promotion of the team and its sponsors such a crucial element of motorsport, the judges assessed the quality of teams’ media presence and their promotion of not just their team but their institution, partners and the racing series. Emma Norton’s Team Northbrook Racing collected the 2023 SMo Challenge Media Activity award.
Commercial Activity: SMo Challenge teams were encouraged to create commercial opportunities that could lead to returns such as financial support or equipment provision. To be considered for this award, the Challenge organisers were looking for the best examples of forging, developing and maintaining commercial relationships to support and develop the race team. The 2023 Commercial Activity award was presented to Barracksport and collected by Team Principal Harry O’Donoghue and Financial Director Ben Latham.
Team Professionalism: A high degree of professionalism and an awareness of how to improve both on and off track are important qualities for any race team. The award for Team Professionalism was presented to the Challenge team who best demonstrated their commitment to both these aspects. For 2023 the award went to Boston College Racing and was accepted by Team Principal Lee Crisp.
Team Development: Team development and preparing learners for work are some of the ultimate aims of the Student Motorsport Challenge. For consideration for this award, teams were assessed on their awareness and determination and the steps they took to improve both individually and as a team. The award for 2023 went to QE Motorsport (Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate) and was accepted by Team Principal Helen Snuggs.
For Student Motorsport founder and Challenge organiser John Paul ‘JP’ Latham, the BRSCC Awards night was the culmination of busy season, both at the circuits and behind the scenes.
“The BRSCC Awards is a fantastic occasion to honour our 2023 winners and recognise the considerable efforts and hard work that every team put in this year to prepare and run a race car and get to the grid,” said JP Latham. “Huge congratulations again to Emma Norton’s Team Northbrook Racing and their driver Richard Jepp for collecting their second Student Motorsport Challenge trophy after successfully defending the title they first won in 2022.
“Massive congratulations as well to the teams who won our Student Motorsport awards. The Challenge exists to provide real-life racing experience to the next generation of motorsport professionals and, as we know, motorsport is not just about getting the car to the circuit and racing. Finding commercial opportunities, presenting the team professionally in the media and developing both the team and its team members are all critical to the success of any race team.
“The awards presented tonight demonstrate the effort our teams are putting in in those important areas.
“I want to say a huge thank you to the BRSCC for their incredible support for the Challenge throughout the season and for hosting such an amazing evening to recognise our winners. We are very proud to be racing with such a prestigious club who so clearly demonstrate their commitment to our objectives.
“With the 2023 season now finished, the Challenge is now focused on returning next year with an expanded grid and even more opportunities for institutions to prepare their learners for careers in the sport they love. Roll on 2024!”
The Student Motorsport Challenge, the inter-series within the BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship, gets underway for the 2024 season at Snetterton April the 6th and 7th.