First Ever UK School Student Motorsport Team Achieve Championship 4th Place in Class

Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate (QE) in York and driver, Arthur Simondet, are celebrating after achieving 4th Place overall in the Student Motorsport Challenge, a racing class within the BRSCC Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship. The team, QE Motorsport, who are the first ever UK school to compete in the Student Motorsport Challenge, are thrilled to have ranked so highly amongst a field of college and university teams and to break records never seen before. This news comes as the team achieved not only a 5th place in class finish at the last race meet of the season at Silverstone, but two previous class Runner Up podium finishes at Croft and Anglesey.  

Driver, Arthur Simondet, commented that, “We’ve had an incredible season this year – I’ve mentioned it countless times already, but I’m amazed at how much the student team has evolved since Croft.  At our first round, everyone was running around unsure of what to do or where to do it.  Silverstone felt as if I was driving in my primary drive, with a professional endurance racing team.  The students are incredibly well-positioned going forward into 2024 and in the meantime, we’ll relish our P4 in class.” 

The team are also thrilled to have placed 3rd in the Pit Stop Challenge at Silverstone against the other 9 teams participating in the Student Motorsport Challenge. QE Motorsport Team Principal, Helen Snuggs, said that “The 4th place in the Student Motorsport Challenge and the 3rd place in the Pit Stop Challenge shows just how much the students have learnt, how much they have developed over the season and how well they have gelled together as a team. They have all worked so hard and have performed amazingly, experiencing everything from building a car to race meeting procedures, live pit wall timings and scrutineering. As the first – and only – school competing, we have broken records never been done before. Our driver, Arthur Simondet, has been so engaging and has won multiple fastest laps for the SMC (Novice) category in our car. The project has been such an adventure and a great success. We are now so excited for the next season.” 

The Collegiate launched QE Motorsport in September 2022 as part of their dedication to driving forward new and exciting extra-curricular opportunities for its students. It started when a team from Student Motorsport and a team from Oxford Brookes University visited with a kit to prepare a car and coordinated a “Pit Stop Challenge” to demonstrate what is involved in building a race car. From there, a team of 28 Year 12 students worked alongside QE staff and Race Engineer, Will Snuggs from WJS Motorsport Engineering & Trackside, to transform the standard Citroen C1 into a race-ready contender.   

Within three weekends, students had already helped strip the car in preparation for fitting new race parts. The car was built in time to compete at the Croft Circuit race meet, where the team managed a fantastic weekend, placing 2nd in class in the team’s first ever race, and 4th place in class in both the second and third races. From there, the team have been mostly consistent scoring mid table places in both races and qualifiers.  

Matt Clayton, Head of Co-Curricular at QE, believes that “QE Motorsport has been a groundbreaking project that reflects our commitment to providing high quality Co-Curricular learning opportunities. It has provided our students with a unique opportunity that promotes teamwork, critical thinking under pressure and other future-ready skills that will serve them well in their academic and professional pursuits. To see the entire team embrace the challenge with enthusiasm, resilience and a real sense of camaraderie and collaboration has been wonderful and for it to lead to a championship 4th place in class in our first ever race season is outstanding. I am so proud of the students, their achievements, and how they have represented the Collegiate. For some it has opened up opportunities that they had never thought about before, which is marvellous.” 

The parents of one student said of the experience, “Mason has found that participating in QE Motorsport has been incredibly enjoyable and rewarding. He has thrived on working as part of the team and developed his ability to collaborate. He has developed his independent problem-solving skills in a supportive yet high-pressure environment and has almost immediately been able to observe their direct impact during the races. He has been inspired to pursue a degree in Engineering at University with the aim of working in the field of vehicle design in future.”  

Another parent commented that, “It was a pleasure to see the contribution that Jasmine delivered to the team and the enthusiasm of her involvement. The team were bonded as a whole and worked together in a coherent way, which was evident during the Pit Stop Challenge. Motorsport is a team effort, and it takes a team to work with cohesion to deliver a single car onto the track and often people do not realise just how important the team is - without the team there is no racing.”  

As one Year 12 student summed up, “QE Motorsport has been an incredible way to experience being part of a motorsport team. Fun weekends with thrilling races and a challenge for you and your friends. What more could you want?”   

To find out more about QE Motorsport, the school, and its Co-Curricular options, follow @queenethelburgas on Instagram or visit www.qe.org. Or, if you would like to sponsor the QE Motorsport team, please email motorsport@qe.org.