Student Motorsport was awarded the BRSCC John Nicol Memorial Trophy at the club’s annual award night, held on Saturday November the 19th at the Crowne Plaza, Stratford-upon-Avon, the award being proudly received by John Paul ‘JP’ Latham, founder of Student Motorsport. The prestigious trophy, named in honour of John Nicol, a former Chief Executive of the BRSCC, was presented by John’s widow Debs Nicol and is an accolade awarded annually to the person or organisation that the club feels has done the most to promote the furtherance of motorsport.
The award concluded a spectacular evening where trophies were awarded to winners of all BRSCC-sanctioned championships. At the conclusion of the inaugural season of the SMo Challenge, trophies were awarded to third-place finishers OBU Student Challenge Team, second-place finishers East Surrey College and winners MET Motorsport (Northbrook College, formerly known as Greater Brighton Metropolitan College.)
The Student Motorsport Challenge is an education-based inter-series within the BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship which saw seven university and college teams competing within the championship which welcomed grids of over 40 cars at selected rounds.
The organisation helped create sustainable motorsport programmes in colleges and universities, allowing students from a range of subjects such as mechanics, media and business studies, to gain unrivalled industry experience by setting up their own race teams, receiving the needed guidance on the way. Through the Challenge, educators have been able to integrate and even launch courses around the team and use their car as a literal marketing vehicle. Teams competed for outright honours but also a range of awards for car preparation, professional development and commercial success.
The BRSCC John Nicol Memorial Trophy was first presented in 2000 and was crafted by Roy James, the racing driver, who was a silversmith by trade and also part of The Great Train Robbery. The award is understood to have been the first trophy he made after being released from jail. Previously known as The Roy James trophy, it was first awarded in 1990 and was re-named the John Nicol Award in 2001 as a memorial to John Nicol who was Chief Executive of the club. John Nicol was Clerk of the Course for the British Grand Prix and introduced international motorsport to South Korea. Over its 30-year history, the trophy has been awarded to motorsport greats such as the BBC, Murray Walker, the Williams F1 team, Prof. Sid Watkins, Damon Hill and Lewis Hamilton.
In announcing the award, BRSCC Chairman Peter Daly was very complimentary about the opportunities that the Student Motorsport Challenge is offering to colleges and universities and to the support that is provides to the next generation of motorsport professionals.
“A huge amount of time, effort, sacrifice and investment has been invested in Student Motorsport over many years, not just by myself but by the whole team, and to see that effort recognised and applauded by the BRSCC was unbelievably gratifying,” said JP Latham. “It was an incredible moment. When I heard my name and Student Motorsport announced, I barely knew what to do with myself!
“Until Student Motorsport received the award, I was unaware of the history and prestige of the BRSCC John Nicol Memorial Trophy and after speaking with Mrs Nicol, who was kind enough to explain how the award came to be, I feel deeply humbled that the name of Student Motorsport now joins names such as Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert, Murray Walker and the Brabham Family on the historic trophy. These are names that are regarded as pivotal in development of motorsport in the UK and to join such esteemed company is indeed a huge honour.
“I must pay tribute to the many people who have supported the Student Motorsport adventure since its inception over six years ago. A huge debt of gratitude must go to the BRSCC and Motorsport UK who welcomed us into national competition in 2022. Of course, the Student Motorsport Challenge would not exist if it were not for the commitment and hard work of the colleges, universities and students who have invested their budgets and given up their time to make the inaugural season of the SMo Challenge such a success and to those I offer my sincerest thanks.
“I must also thank Essential Racing and Simon Toolan for being such a good friend and supporter of the Challenge; Patrick Hathaway who was instrumental in conceptualising the Challenge and making it a reality; James Harvey who helped everything run smoothly and finally Andy Lloyd from Endurance and GT, a long-time supporter of Student Motorsport, who ensured our message reached the media and motorsport family.”
“I would also like to thank my family who have been a huge support as the concept of the Student Motorsport Challenge was made a reality over the past two years.
“Student Motorsport and the SMo Challenge exist to allow students and the next generation of motorsport professionals to gain real-world experience in a competitive, track-based environment and I truly believe that we are making a difference that will have a huge effect on the working lives of the students themselves and the teams that they will work for.
“Finally, I must pay tribute to Peter Daly, Chairman of the BRSCC, and Hugh Chambers, CEO of Motorsport UK, for their kind and fulsome words on the evening. I was blown away with the kindness and sincerity of all that was said about the Student Motorsport on the evening and I am looking forward to continuing those conversations with Peter and Hugh soon.
“To be awarded the BRSCC John Nicol Memorial Trophy has been the biggest highlight of my career to date and I am struggling to find the words to explain how much this means to me and to the Student Motorsport organisation. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Mrs Nicol, the BRSCC and to everyone who was so generous with their praise and support on the evening.
“I am very much looking forward to 2023 season and further developing the Student Motorsport Challenge as part of the BRSCC Nankang Tyres CityCar Cup.”