Ben Barnicoat spoke to The Checkered Flag on Friday, and revealed that he is eager to take his first Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Series victory of the season in front of the British fans at Silverstone this weekend.
The Racing Steps Foundation-backed Fortec Motorsports driver praised his team for all the hard work they’ve put in to make the car competitive and feels he will be in contention this weekend for pole position when first qualifying gets underway on Saturday morning.
“This morning went alright; we were on a fairly different set-up to [team-mate] Callan [O’Keeffe],” revealed Barnicoat to The Checkered Flag. “I was struggling a little bit with it but we had to try it, so we knew which way was the best. I usually have to try the out-of-the-ordinary things.
“It wasn’t too bad but I was about a tenth-and-a-half off Callan I think, but I made quite a big mistake on my best lap that lost me about three-tenths through the final sector.
“Theoretically I am there or thereabouts, its pretty tough work but I’m sure we will be fine.”
Looking at the season, Barnicoat admits that it has not been consistent enough, and he knows he needs to bring it all together on a more regular basis to be in with a shout of race wins and regular podiums.
“The season has been a bit up and down really, the pace has always seemed to be there,” said Barnicoat. “I’ve had really strong qualifying aside from Budapest where we struggled a little bit, but I’ve been a little bit unlucky really.
“At Motorland I crashed in the final race, which was pretty much a little bit my own fault, I could have judged the conditions better, but its only my second year in cars and I’m still learning a little bit. I maybe could have been a little bit wiser.
“I had the grid penalty from Motorland at Spa; I qualified on pole but started fifth and had another crash. If it wasn’t for all that, I’d be right there with Deletraz.
“I’ve had two podiums and my worst finish is eighth when I haven’t retired, it’s not really a disaster. I just need to start bringing it all together. We are looking for a good weekend here, and put things back on track.”
Barnicoat believes he is slightly disadvantaged due to his main rivals having competed in the NEC race back in May, but feels he should be able to make a strong challenge for honours this weekend. He admits his pride in his team for all their hard work to make the cars competitive, and is eager to take his first Eurocup victory at the earliest opportunity.
“Obviously the [Josef] Kaufmann’s are very fast around here,” added Barnicoat. “They’ve already done the one race here earlier in the season [in NEC], like Callan has, which puts me at a little bit of a disadvantage obviously, as I’ve not had so much track time.
“Hopefully we should be alright if we can get the car dialled in, and then we should be able to get on with it. It’s going to be very hard to beat them, but that’s the level we need to be at. I don’t think we’ll be able to go a big chunk faster than them, but I think we should be able to match them and race them.
“The team have been working really hard; we ran a two-day test earlier in the year at Snetterton to learn more about the car, we came on a little bit in terms of performance. I feeling fairly confident really with the hard work we’ve put in, we should be able to get closer to the Kaufmann cars than we have in the earlier part of the year.”
“I obviously want to be right at the front, and I really want my first Eurocup victory, that’s my goal. Basically I’ve got to qualify right at the front and try to go for the race wins.”
Barnicoat reiterated his thanks to the Racing Steps Foundation for making his racing career possible, and admitted without them he would not be racing this weekend at Silverstone.
“Racing steps have helped me unbelievable really,” said Barnicoat. “Without them I wouldn’t be here today. It really was a life-changing thing really; they put me into international karting where I was able to prove myself to be put into cars.
“It’s been unbelievable really what Graham Sharp and Derek Walters and Racing Steps have done for me, and I hope to hear the British national anthem this weekend, twice, for me and for Oliver (Rowland in Formula Renault 3.5).”