“We have unfinished business in the Challenge!” O’Donoghue in confident mood as Barracksport target a two-car entry for 2024

Barracksport Team Principal - Harry O'Donoghue Snetterton July 2023

Barracksport, the team crewed by current and ex-Oxford Brookes University students, is firmly focused on returning to the Challenge grid with two cars for the forthcoming season. The squad, led by Harry O’Donoghue, have finalised their driver line-up for the Barracksport Grey Sheep Racing (GSR) entry where Welsh tech entrepreneur James Smith will share the seat with Barracksport team member Matty Prance.

Barracksport GSR Team (Silverstone Final 2023) with their Driver James Smith (2nd From Right)

Barracksport is currently in the process of securing a driver for their first car. Team Principal O’Donoghue is keen to make sure that the fit between team and pilot is the right one as the squad enters its third season in the SMo Challenge.

“We’re currently in contact with a number of people but we’re also keeping our options open a little bit,” said Harry.

Barracksport Team Principal - Harry O'Donoghue Snetterton July 2023

Barracksport, then branded OBU Student Challenge Team, burst onto the grid halfway through the Challenge’s inaugural season in 2022. Driver Ben Creanor went on to drive the #77 Citroen C1 to ten class podiums, including four class victories, as well as taking an historic first overall victory for a Challenge team in the BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship at Croft.

OBU - Croft - September 2022 (Photo: James Roberts)

Harry O’Donoghue’s team, with support from series organiser John Paul ‘JP’ Latham, has worked hard over the winter period to get two cars back onto the grid for 2024.

“We’re very confident that we’ll be there and we’re been preparing and planning to make sure that, when we get to the point of confirming it, we’re well underway,” said O’Donoghue. “We’re very excited to be coming back to the Challenge again for a third season.”

Last year was not straightforward for a team that was flying high at the end of 2022. Duncan Horlor, who drove for the opening two weekends at Snetterton and Croft, 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 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 at Donington.

Barracksport Driver - Duncan Holor
Barracksport Driver - Matty Prince

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.

Barracksport - Andrew Dyer - Silverstone - October 2023 (Photo: Sam Martin)

For Harry O’Donoghue and his colleagues, the Student Motorsport Challenge represents a goal that is yet to be achieved.

“We’re all very hungry for more success and although there were questions as to whether we’d actually be able to enter this year, we were determined to make sure we got back because we feel like there’s unfinished business for us in the Challenge and we believe that will be the case for a while.”

The team’s second car, the Grey Sheep Racing entry, is now confirmed for 2024 with James Smith entering his second year as a driver.

James Smith - Barracksport GSR Driver

“James will be competing in a total of four rounds this year,” explained O’Donoghue. “We will have Matty Prance taking over from James for the remaining three rounds which we’re really excited about because he’s a team member as well as being a good friend to all of us. Matty was someone we felt proved his worth behind the wheel when he jumped in the race seat at Anglesey at his very first race weekend.

Matty Prance - Anglesey - June 2023
Matty Prance on Podium with Barracksport - Anglesey - June 2023

“So for 2024, we’re looking forward to seeing James develop as a driver as well as having Matty back in the car as well.”

The Student Motorsport Challenge, the UK’s premier student-and-pupil-focused track-based motorsport series gets underway for 2024 at Snetterton on April the 6th and 7th.