A large number of racing trophies won by the Carlin Motorsport team have been stolen in an overnight robbery on Thursday, after the team's headquarters were broken into and ransacked.

"Obviously this is really disappointing for everyone in the team," said Carlin team principal Trevor Carlin on Friday. "The irony is the trophies are pretty much worthless to anyone but us; they have great sentimental value to the team and there's a story behind every one."

The robbers smashed through a door at the team's head office in a business park in Farnham, Surrey and then raided the reception area where the trophies were kept in a large glass-fronted display case.

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The team posted a photograph of the full cabinet, as well as an 'after' shot showing what was left on Friday morning after the break-in, in the hope that it would encourage people to keep an eye open for anyone trying to sell the stolen items in the upcoming days and weeks.

"Just on the off chance anyone tries to sell any of these!!" the team said on its Twitter page.

"Its unlikely but we hope we get some back," said Carlin. "In the meantime we'll just get cracked on and try and win a few more."

The trophies that were stolen include prizes from GP2 and GP3 Series races, as well as from other series such as the Macau street race.

"What kind of loser breaks into a property to steal trophies that are worthless to anyone but the people who worked so hard to earn them?," the team tweeted on Friday morning.

After the team made the announcement it received dozens of messages of commiseration from fans and those in the racing world.

"Obviously there are far worse things that go on in the world, but thanks for your lovely messages today guys!" the team acknowledged later in the day.