More and more colleges and universities are offering academic courses in motorsport engineering. Now one college is taking the whole idea up a level by not only teaching student;s motorsport, but also giving them the opportunity to get involved in a real team, on the track. To support the costs involved, the College of West Anglia’s motorsport team is being sponsored by a number of companies including Adrian Flux Insurance Services of East Winch in Norfolk.
John Suckling, lecturer at The College of West Anglia, says: “The best way to hammer home a lesson is to go and experience the thing first hand. There’s no doubt that our students get a huge amount of benefit from actually being part of a team competing in motorsport for real, as opposed to just learning about it at desk and workshop.”
“To help with funding, we decided to contact a number of companies for sponsorship and partnership deals,” he explains. “We involved the students in the presentation to sponsors, because it’s a significant part of being in a ‘real’ motorsport team. We approached Flux and they’ve been very supportive. As well as giving us cash to help cover the cost of racing, they’re giving lecturers and students on the course a discount on their car insurance.”
For Adrian Flux Insurance Services, the sponsorship was attractive on several different levels. Flux’s operations director Gerry Bucke explains: “Cars are our core business, particularly performance cars, and we insure a lot of younger drivers. At the same time, most of our sponsorship supports local causes and, specifically, sports people. So sponsoring The College of West Anglia’s motorsport team ticks a whole load of boxes for us, all at the same time.”
The College’s team is racing at Lydden Hill and Brands Hatch in the Semsec championship. “Students are working on the car and preparing it – they’re getting the experience that could win them a job as an engineer or mechanic in a top motorsport team,” explains John Suckling. “Currently one of the lecturers drives the car, but if a student has a racing licence and insurance, we’ll encourage them to get in the cockpit.”
The idea of being part of a racing team is clearly an attractive one. “We started the motorsport course two years ago with 15 students,” adds Suckling. “This year we’ll have over 50, some of them commuting 60 miles to the College. Competing on the circuit makes them more interested and more enthusiastic about the whole course.” Currently the College of West Anglia offers two motorsport courses, at BTEC and National Diploma level, and plans to offer a foundation degree from September 2010.
For information about courses at The College of West Anglia visit www.col-westanglia.ac.uk or call 01945 582561.