Six engineering students from the University of Southampton are preparing themselves to face the biggest challenge so far of their burgeoning career, by crewing for Brookspeed's Chrysler Viper GTS-R in the forthcoming Daytona 24 Hours.
The students' punishing schedule will leave no time for pondering the scale of this undertaking, however - they will fly to Daytona directly after their last exam, and travel back as soon as the team has packed the last crate of spares after the event so as not to miss more than a day of lectures!
"We're not expecting to get much sleep," says project organiser Simon Willis. "Jet-lag pales into insignificance when you're looking at the amount of time we'll be spending working on the track to prep the cars and support the team during the race. But after the hours of revision we've been putting in this month, we're pretty used to that "
Simon has also found time to hunt down sponsorship for the project, negotiating space on the car for businesses prepared to pay for the students' flights, accommodation and insurance.
Simon will be joined by five other final year members of Southampton's `Formula Student' motorsport programme, which is supported by Jordan Grand Prix. The new crewmembers have been named as Nick Henry, who has undergone work placements at Jaguar F1, Paul Williams, who is sponsored by Penske, Jono Moscrop, Jeremy Robinson, and Kieran Dix.
Brookspeed are veterans of the British GT Championship, ELMS and Petit Le Mans and also entrants of this year's Le Mans 24 Hours.
Team boss Martin Braybrook says "I've always been incredibly impressed by the confidence and the abilities of the Southampton University undergraduates". "For me,they are the future of motorsport engineering and this is a golden opportunity to find future talent."
The students will assist on the pit wall for Brookspeed's Le Mans winning car, monitoring tyre and fuel supply as well as taking vital roles in the pit crew during the gruelling 24-Hour classic.
Driving the Viper will be Former Finnish Formula Ford Champion Kari Mäenpää. Kari competed in the German Formula 3 Championship in 2001. He is a winner of the Finnish Motor Sport Association's 'Newcomer of the Year Award' - winners of the same prize include top sports car racer (and ex-F1 star) J J Lehto and current F1 drivers Mika Häkkinen and Mika Salo. Mäenpää will be joined by Grahame Bryant, who will bring much needed experience of the Daytona 24 Hours, having completed this race on the past three runnings.
For more information contact Simon Willis or Matt Willis at email: email@example.com