Formula Renault BARC: Where Are They Now?


Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Between 1995 and 2014, the Formula Renault BARC championship served as a cost-effective route into single-seater motorsport for a vast number of aspiring young drivers and served as a launchpad for a host of successful careers across single-seater, GT and touring car competition.

The demise of the BTCC-supporting Formula Renault UK series in 2012 led to the club-level series, later named the Protyre Formula Renault Championship, attracting more talented drivers, larger entries and a couple of guest appearances on the TOCA package.

The end of the championship in 2014 left the UK motorsport scene without a Formula Renault series for the first time since 1989, and while there continues to be successful series across Europe, a British series has not yet been revitalised.

Following recent graduates getting announced in the Verizon IndyCar Series and FIA World Endurance Championship, we’ve taken a look at some of the most successful Formula Renault BARC alumni from the later years of the series:

Credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography & Verizon IndyCar Series

Pietro Fittipaldi – 2014 Champion

Fittipaldi entered the history books as the final ever FR BARC champion and has since enjoyed an impressive rise up the open wheel ranks, moving straight up to being a top ten finisher in the FIA European Formula 3 the following season with support from Ferrari.

Joining the Formula V8 3.5 Series in 2016, the Brazilian would follow a solid maiden campaign with title success last year courtesy of six wins, which has led to him reaching the pinnacle of American racing this year with a part-time drive in the IndyCar Series aged just 21.

Credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography & Weiron Tan

Weiron Tan – 2013 Vice-Champion

With backing from the Caterham F1 Academy, Tan made a big impact in his sole season in the UK with five victories. In the following years, he would go on to be a multiple race-winner in ATS Formula 3 and Pro Mazda, alongside selected FIA European F3 outings.

The Malaysian racer would make the transition to prototype racing last year with a race-winning campaign in the Asian Le Mans Series, and now he will contest the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours as he enters the FIA World Endurance Championship in the LMP2 class.

Credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Seb Morris – 2012 Third Overall

Entering as the reigning Ginetta Junior champion, Morris impressed in the BARC series with five wins, before going to take further top three championship finishes in BRDC F4 and Formula Renault NEC.

A tough campaign in GP3 followed in 2015 before he switched to British GT. After finishing third overall in his first season, Morris stormed to title glory with three victories in a Bentley Continental GT3 and now moves into the Blancpain Endurance Cup in the same machinery.

Credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography & Porsche AG/Hoch Zwei

Josh Webster – 2011 & 2012 Vice-Champion

Eighteen podium finishes including eight wins wouldn’t be enough to earn Webster a FR BARC title, but it secured him a move to GP3 for 2013. It proved to be a difficult campaign though, and led to a move out of single-seater racing to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB.

A sublime debut campaign saw him take the title after finishing every race on the podium. After an unsuccessful title defence and a quiet 2016, he entered the Porsche Supercup last year and took regular top six finishes, leading to a return to the grid this year.

Credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography & Dan Bathie/Porsche

Dino Zamparelli – 2011 Champion

Four victories took 2008 Ginetta Junior champion Zamparelli to a second national title and launched a single-seater career that saw him rise through FIA Formula Two to a two year spell in GP3, with six podium finishes guiding him to seventh in the final standings.

That would be the Anglo-Italian’s last campaign in open-wheel competition though, competing in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB ever since. An impressive run has seen him finish as series runner-up twice, with him hoping its third time lucky this season.

Credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Scott Malvern – 2012 Champion

One of the most prolific drivers in Junior single-seater motorsport at the start of the decade, the 2011 Formula Ford GB and Eurocup champion would follow up that success with another title victory in his only season in Formula Renault competition.

Malvern would endure a quiet couple of years after, bar a Walter Hayes win and a strong campaign in Radicals, but a move to British GT followed and he is now preparing for a third season in the ultra-competitive GT4 class with a podium breakthrough the target.

 

Other Alumni:

Sean Walkinshaw contested two Formula Renault BARC campaigns before moving up into the European F3 Open series. He made the move into sportscars in 2015 and is now preparing for a second season in Super GT series in Asia following a race-winning debut campaign.

Contesting half a BARC season in 2012, Trent Hindman would go on to win the 2014 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS class title and the 2017 Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Final, and started this season by competing in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

Diego Menchaca has been one of the few FR BARC graduates to follow the single-seater path, with a race-winning campaign in BRDC Formula 4 in 2014 leading to a move to the Euroformula Open Championship for two years, and then Formula V8 3.5 last season and now GP3 for 2018.

Another to contest a few seasons in single-seater was Hongwei Cao, who followed two BARC campaigns by winning the 2014 British F3 title. After moving into European F3, Cao switched to touring cars and has enjoyed race wins in the Chinese series.

Following Webster and Zamparelli, Tom Oliphant would be another ex-FR BARC driver to become a front-runner in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, finishing in the top four of the standings in each of the last two seasons ahead of a move into British Touring Cars this year.

Leaving BTCC as Oliphant enters is Michael Epps, who was a regular top ten finisher in the series in the last two seasons. Prior to that, he followed one campaign in Renault’s with a strong but short spell in USF2000 and is now contesting the Renault UK Clio Cup.

Anton Spires was crowned the 2017 Michelin Clio Cup Series vice-champion, Jack Butel has become a front-runner in the LMP3 Cup, while off-track, Archie Hamilton has made a career as a YouTube personality with over 160,000 subscribers.