TWO new racing cars have been built with the help of local students – and now professional drivers will be getting behind the wheel.

Learners from Basingstoke College of Technology have been working alongside engineers at Basingstoke-based Stoner Racing to build the cars.

The Toyota MR2 Mk1 racing cars are to be raced by professionals at the start of the new Track Attack MR2 Mark One Race Series in March.

A group of about 20 learners were involved with the project, each playing a part in the creation of the impressive race cars. Among them was 21-year-old Jorge Dantas, from Basingstoke, who is studying motorsport engineering He said: “There were several jobs that we weren’t able to do because of all the restrictions in place but it was a very useful experience.”

Jorge, who has spent a lot of time helping to build the cars over the last few months, said he is happy to have been given an insight into how to put his training into practice.

The learners also worked to secure funding for the cars, and with the help of the college, in Worting Road, they have so far secured more than £12,000 in donations from local companies.

Many of the sponsors attended the launch event, held at the college, to see how their money had been spent.

Mo Stoner, who runs Stoner Racing, said he would be happy to work with the college on similar projects in the future.

He added: “I think it was useful for the students and very different from their college experience – if they did something wrong, we would be quick to tell them.

“It’s been a good way for them to learn about the world of work and we’ve had a lot of fun. I think we would definitely do this again in the future.”

Lee Wilson, motor sports lecturer at BCoT, who organised the launch event, said: “The night was a real success and a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved to show the exceptionally high standard of workmanship our learners have demonstrated in building the MR2s.

“They are young professionals embarking on the start of their careers, and the evening was an opportunity for them to demonstrate to our sponsors why the college and its young people are worth investing in.”

The cars will now go into the testing stage in preparation for the racing season in March, and the learners from BCoT will be able to attend all the meetings, working as pit crew.

Lee said: “Attending and being part of the pit team will give the learners a real sense of what it is like to work at a real race event.

“They will experience all the highs and lows which come with racing. You really cannot put a price on how valuable these days will be to them as they progress with their future careers.”