A team of university students are driving the success of a new-look motor racing team.
After unveiling a revamped car at Wrexham Glyndwr University in November, TWP Racing said goodbye to the track season with a strong showing at the Mission Motorsport Race of Remembrance at Anglesey Circuit.
The team is led by Jon Earp, an ex-Serviceman and Wales Air Ambulance Pilot, and includes students and lecturers from the University.
Jon, who received a Fellowship from the institution in October, paid tribute to the engineering department for their support of the fledgling outfit, which unveiled its re-wrapped Mazda MK1 MX-5 ahead of the 1000km endurance event.
“It’s been a manic few weeks and the students have played a big part in getting the car ready,” said Jon.
“They immaculately prepared it for our biggest – not to mention most challenging – race of the year.
“They worked tirelessly to keep the car running, even after third gear departed the gearbox! It was a real team effort and I’m hugely proud of everyone involved.”
Over the last four weeks, TWP Racing have completed more than 700 miles of testing and 11 hours of racing, driven 900 miles and finished 282 laps.
They came 27th out of 41 entries at the Race of Remembrance, and 45th out of 70 at the recent Birkett relay event held at Silverstone.
The group joined the Armed Forces Race Challenge team for the six-hour event, and punched above their weight in the face of tough opposition by completing 155 laps.
“The Birkett race is simply bonkers. Entries range from Le Mans prototypes through to 1960s classics with everything in-between,” said Jon.
“We finished 45th out of 70 entries and the key word there is ‘finished’ as many teams suffered mechanical problems during the race.
“When you’re surrounded by 44ft articulated custom race trailers and your team is sleeping in their cars you know you’re at the budget-end of motorsport. But we will grow, and grow soon.”
He added: “We left Silverstone feeling happy and accomplished and now look forward to March, when it all begins again.
“We hope the students continue to enjoy being part of the team, and they are very much a part of everything we do. Their input and hard work is vital, and of course it also supports them in garnering vital experience as they pursue their own careers in engineering, design and mechanics.”
Launched at Motor Safari’s Bwlchgwyn headquarters in 2014, the partnership between Wrexham Glyndwr University and TWP Racing brought positive results from the start, supporting Mission Motorsport and the Wounded and Injured Servicemen (WIS) Charity, which aims to help recovery through motorsport.
After claiming the Best Track Car Award at the 2015 MX5 Owners Club annual race meet in Lincolnshire they went to Norfolk’s Snetterton 200 Circuit a week later and finished second in their class.
Jon believes the journey to the top will be long but ultimately an enjoyable and exhilarating time for everyone involved.
“I’ve no doubt at all that we’ll see the team progress, as we have already,” he said.
“The clue is in our motto – Together, We Progress – and while raising money for these incredible courses and supporting the students is of huge importance to me, so is making this a fun and safe environment so we can all look back and reflect on the many things we’ve achieved, and will continue to achieve, if we work together and give back to those who need it most.”
TWP Racing works with local and regional organisations to source materials, race entry fees and uniforms for all of its projects.
They are recruiting sponsors and supporters, so if you can help email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow them on Facebook or Twitter at @TWP_Racing.