Ben Barnicoat has made a return to the McLaren set-up after joining their GT Driver Academy for 2017, with the Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver set to make his GT3 debut in the Bathurst 12 Hour at the beginning of February.
The British driver will partner Australian Supercars racer Will Davison, winner of the Bathurst 1000 in 2016, as well as sportscar ace Jonny Kane at Tekno Autosports, while Barnicoat is also set to race in both the Blancpain Endurance and Sprint Cups in 2017.
Barnicoat had been a part of the McLaren Young Driver Programme while making his way through the single seater ladder, and competed last year in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, but has now seemingly turned his back on single-seater racing in favour of a GT switch.
“To join such a prestigious team as McLaren is a fantastic opportunity for me to demonstrate my capabilities in a new discipline,” admitted Barnicoat. “As such it’s one I relish. I can’t thank the RSF and McLaren enough for creating this opening for me.”
Racing Steps Foundation founder Graham Sharp was pleased that Barnicoat was able to grab the chance with McLaren in GT Racing, and believes he is now well on the way in becoming a full-time professional race car driver.
“Having the financial backing and management to enable you to compete is one thing,” said Sharp. “Having the discipline to dig deep and turn in race-winning drives is another. Ben has shown he has that discipline in abundance.
“The very fact he has made his way into the McLaren GT Academy proves that beyond the shadow of a doubt. It moves him another step along the way to becoming a full time professional driver.”