Emilia Vincent brings student motorsport into the spotlight
Racing in the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship, Emilia Vincent has enjoyed a season of progress while promoting student participation in motorsport. Often making substantial improvements from qualifying to the races, the Wiltshire College & University Centre driver made clear progress at her first season of racing nationally.
Racing in the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship, Emilia Vincent has enjoyed a season of progress while promoting student participation in motorsport. Despite missing the opening round of the season at Snetterton, Emilia finished 14th in the overall championship standings with 51 drivers completing at least one weekend.
Vincent was also a competitor in the Student Motorsport Challenge sub-class, in which she and Wiltshire College & University Centre ended the campaign in seventh. This was both Emilia and the team’s first season of racing nationally, with clear progress bringing great encouragement for the future.
Launched in 2020, the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship is one of the most affordable ways to go circuit racing in Britain. Following on from the immense success of the Silverlake C1 Endurance Series which has regularly seen grids exceeding 50 cars, the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship offers sprint racing on a similar platform. Eligible cars include the Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo as well as Citroen C1 machinery, with the close-nature of competition proving an instant hit with drivers and fans alike.
The 2023 calendar consisted of 19 races across seven rounds, with a fifteen-minute qualifying session followed by races of fifteen-minutes in length. Visiting circuits such as Silverstone, Donington Park and Brands Hatch, the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship is the perfect starting point for drivers looking to begin their journey in motorsport. Championship points are awarded to all race finishers, in addition to bonus points for pole position and fastest lap, allowing drivers to track their development over the course of the season.
In addition to the regular championship, the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship includes the Student Motorsport Challenge, of which Emilia was part of. Ten colleges and universities entered at least one round of the championship, with separate points awarded based on their finishing position. Competing for Wiltshire College & University Centre, Vincent and the team of students responsible for running her Toyota Aygo, finished seventh with one podium finish to their name.
Emilia was familiar with front-wheel drive machinery ahead of the 2023 season, having previously competed in the Castle Combe Hot Hatch Series. Taking part in her first circuit racing event in May 2021, Vincent secured a class podium behind the wheel of her Honda Civic.
Continuing to develop her skills during the season, Emilia ended the campaign second in class in the Hot Hatch Challenge. She continued to race in the Castle Combe Hot Hatch Series during 2022, driving both an MG ZR and a Renault Clio RS200.
Debuting in the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship at Croft, this would be Emilia’s first taste of one-make competition with all three marques designed for equal performance. Although she missed the first round of the championship at Snetterton, Vincent adapted well to the Toyota Aygo and qualified 22nd overall, seventh among the Student Motorsport Challenge (SMC) drivers.
Race one was typical of Emilia’s strong race performances throughout the season as she gained six positions to finish 16th overall, sixth in the SMC class. By race three, the Wiltshire College & University Centre driver had found two seconds worth of lap time improvement from her qualifying benchmark, further underlining the potential ahead of the remaining rounds.
Anglesey hosted round three of the championship and was once again a new circuit to Emilia. Qualifying 26th overall and tenth among the SMC competitors, Vincent’s race pace took a considerable step forward. This saw her finish race one in 19th, before securing her first top-15 result of the season in race two. The final race at Anglesey saw Emilia achieve another landmark, her maiden top-5 in the SMC class with a 15th place overall finish.
Although Emilia missed the opening round of the season at Snetterton, her inexperience at the Norfolk based circuit was not apparent as the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship returned to the 300 layout in July. Excelling in wet conditions, Emilia gained five spots from her starting position in race one to finish 13th, seventh in the SMC class. Her season’s best overall result was to follow as Vincent took the checkered flag in 11th, scoring her second SMC top-5 in the process.
The middle portion of her campaign was particularly impressive and this good run of form extended to Brands Hatch, with a season-high 36 cars entered. Qualifying in the top half of the field, Emilia’s race one finish of 18th was in fact the low point of her weekend. In races two and three she finished inside the top-15 position overall, with a fourth place SMC class finish in race two followed by her first ever class podium in race three.
Donington Park hosted the penultimate round of the championship and this served to be one of character building for Emilia and the Wiltshire College & University Centre team. Setting a top-5 SMC class time in qualifying, expectations were high heading into the races but an opening lap incident left Vincent with nowhere to go and resulted her in Toyota Aygo sustaining substantial damage. This was her first retirement of the season and after superb work by the team, she took the start of race two and finished seventh in class despite a wounded car.
Improvements were once again apparent for Emilia in the final round of the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship at Silverstone. A 26th place qualifying result was improved upon in both races, with Vincent collecting a pair of overall top-20 results, with a best of sixth in the SMC class. Her consistent performances throughout the campaign saw Emilia end the season 14th in the overall championship standings despite her absence from the opening round.
Emilia’s race pace was particularly impressive during the course of the season, with her unfortunate weekend at Donington the only occasion in which she didn't achieve a finish higher than her qualifying position. Often making substantial improvements from qualifying to the races, while only retiring from one race throughout the campaign, this further highlighted Vincent’s ability to maximise her speed.
Attention will now be focused on the 2024 season, with Emilia finalising her plans as she aims to return for a second season of national racing.