About Ben

Multiple Championship & Race Winning Graduate of the Racing Steps Foundation, Ben Barnicoat is a mercurial winner and a rising star in the world of motorsport.

Ben is a driver who stormed through the ranks of motorsport, becoming multiple British & European Karting Champion in the Cadet, Junior and Senior KF2 classes - before graduating to single seaters in 2014.

He was immediately successful, backed by the RSF - he won the Formula Renault NEC Championship, the BRDC F3 Autumn Trophy and was a multiple race winner in the Formula Renault Eurocup and FIA Formula 3 European Championship.

2017 saw Ben join the McLaren GT Driver Academy, making a transition into GT Racing - which has seen him compete and win, on some of the biggest stages in motorsport.

This year will see Ben continue as a McLaren GT Driver, as well as competing in the European Le Mans Series with Carlin Thunderhead Racing in LMP2 - making his debut in Le Mans Prototypes.

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Profile

McLaren Factory Driver Ben Barnicoat is a multiple championship and race-winning graduate of the Racing Steps Foundation. He is a mercurial winner across a range of different series and a rising star in the world of motorsport.

Ben is a driver who has stormed through the ranks of motorsport, becoming multiple British and European karting champion in the Cadet, Junior and Senior KF2 classes before graduating to single-seaters in 2014. Here he was immediately successful, winning the Formula Renault NEC Championship, the BRDC F3 Autumn Trophy and was a multiple race winner in the Formula Renault Eurocup and FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Ben was on the McLaren Formula 1 Young Driver Programme between 2010 and 2016, and a McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award finalist in 2014 and 2015.

2017 saw Ben join the McLaren GT Driver Academy, making a transition into GT Racing - which has seen him compete, and win, on some of the biggest stages in motorsport. He was appointed Factory Driver with the iconic British motorsport brand a year later, and the role has seen Ben take on a pivotal role in the development of the latest range of GT racing cars from McLaren.

Since successfully debuting the McLaren 720S GT3 at the 2018 Gulf 12 Hours race in Abu Dhabi, Ben has proven himself on the world stage with the latest GT3 challenger with podium results at the Bathurst 12 Hour, Asian Le Mans Series and a dominant outright victory at the Gulf 12 Hours in Bahrain.

Alongside his McLaren commitments, Ben has successfully competed across a variety of different championships. These have included FIA Formula 3 and the LMP2 class in both European Le Mans Series and Asian Le Mans Series. In addition to this, Ben also made a successful simulator racing debut in 2020, finishing runner up in the SRO's inaugural Esport GT Series.

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2021

The 2021 season sees a return to a busy GT3 campaign with Ben already securing silverware with the 720S GT3 across the Middle East. Focus now shifts to Europe as he takes on the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint and Endurance calendars with JOTA.

Ben made a strong start to his 2021 season with the McLaren 720S GT3, claiming victory at the Gulf 12 Hours Bahrain event. This dominant result saw Ben lead the team as they locked out the front row of the Bahrain International Circuit for the relocated endurance event.

During the race, Ben put on one of his best GT3 performances to date, helping secure the first endurance victory for the car. The result was quickly followed up the month after with a double podium finish with the McLaren during the Asian Le Mans Series in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Ben now takes on the full Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS with British sportscar team JOTA. He makes a full championship return for the first time since 2017, racing the McLaren 720S GT3 in an all-Pro line-up alongside fellow Factory Drivers in a bid for both the Sprint and Endurance titles.

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2020

Impressive LMP2 and GT3 results across Asia started a promising 2020 season for Ben with podium finishes and further silverware, before further success in simulator racing amid a heavily-affected year.

The 2020 season started with the continuation of the Asian Le Mans Series over the winter. After a podium finish at the opening round, Ben continued to impress throughout the remainder of the season, scoring consistent podium results and his first LMP2 victory to narrowly missing out on the championship by a single point.  

During his tour of Asia, Ben also returned to the cockpit of the 720S GT3 to take on the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge at the Bathurst 12 Hour. Here his form continued, and after securing a front row qualifying position, ben and his teammates remained in contention for the overall win throughout the whole race before eventually coming home in 2nd place against a truly world-class field - the 720S GT3s highest-profile race result since its launch.  

The season also saw Ben make his simulator racing debut at the virtual wheel of the McLaren 720S GT3 as he joined a strong field of professional drivers and sim racers for the inaugural SRO E-Sports GT Series Championship. After a podium finish at the opening round, a race win at the Nurburgring would see Ben in contention for the overall championship before eventually finishing as runner up.

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2019

The 2019 season saw Ben score a record-breaking karting Grand Prix victory and impressive LMP2 debuts in Europe and Asia.

With a quieter GT3 competition calendar than previous seasons, Ben took on another new challenge debuting in a Le Mans prototype to compete in the European Le Mans Series with Thunderhead Carlin Racing as they also made their championship debut. Before the end of the year, Ben also kicked off his Asian Le Mans Series debut season with race-winning pace, recording an impressive first LMP2 podium finish.

A return to the Motorsport UK Kartmasters British Karting Grand Prix saw Ben continue his rich form at the event where he has proven himself over the past decade. The young Brit wrote his name in the record books in style as he secured his eighth and ninth titles. Ben repeated his previous success when he took victories in both the Rotax Senior and X30 Senior classes - a feat only achieved once before in the event's history, by Ben, back in 2015.

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2018

Impressive results on track saw Ben appointed McLaren Factory Driver for the 2018 season. The role would see him competing at the highest levels, but also play a pivotal part in the development of new models from McLaren.

Another full year of competition, and a British GT Championship race win at the opening round started the season off well before competing in the full Blancpain GT Sprint and Endurance Series, as well as the Intercontinental GT Challenge at the Suzuka 10 Hours.  

Alongside his GT3 and GT4 racing commitments, Ben  played a key role in the development of the new McLaren 720S GT3 during the season. Extensive track testing across Europe and the Middle East culminated with Ben being part of the driver line up for the car’s global competitive debut at the Gulf 12 Hours, starting from the front row and putting in a dominant race performance to secure a top-5 finish.  

Amid the busy season, Ben also returned to defend his British Kartmasters Grand Prix honours where he claimed his seventh title.

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2017

Ben took on a new challenge as he moved from single-seaters to GT racing, and the young Brit was confirmed as a McLaren Factory Driver.

Despite his lack of GT experience, Ben scored top-10 finishes and fastest laps as he campaigned in the full Blancpain GT Series across Europe, while he also took on the Pirelli World Challenge where he and his teammate Alvaro Parente secured three podium finishes and a further top-3 result at the Intercontinental GT Challenge event at Laguna Seca.

Ben kept his race skills sharp between events competing at the highest levels in karting, finishing 2nd in the SKUSA Supernationals in Las Vegas in 2017, and returning to the British Kartmasters Grand Prix with Mick Barret racing to take overall honours for a seventh time. 2017 saw Ben join the McLaren GT Academy, racing the 650S GT3 on both sides of the Atlantic.

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2014-2016

Ben graduated into single-seaters in 2014, going on to win across various Formula Renault series, BRDC F4 and FIA Formula 3 Europe. On-track performances showed the young Brit’s talent, and he was among the finalists of the Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award in 2014 and 2015.

Ben contested the Formula Renault Northern European Cup in 2014 with backing from the Racing Steps Foundation as he moved into single-seat formula racing. Two victories and three further podiums secured the title in his debut season, while he also claimed top-5 finishes in selected rounds of the Formula Renault ALPS Championship against more experienced competition.

Following the successful maiden season, Ben progressed to the Formula Renault 2.0 EuroCup Championship taking a debut podium followed by back-to-back top-5 results in the opening half of the season. The final run-in  saw him finish outside the top-5 just once in the remaining six events, including victory at the season finale to finish 4th in the championship. Beyond this , Ben also contested six races of the Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS Championship, winning twice and taking two further podiums, and he also took victory in the BRDC F4 Autumn Trophy beating future Formula One Driver Lando Norris.

Capping off his strong season, he completed an unprecedented double victory at the British Kartmasters Grand Prix, taking wins in the Senior Rotax and Senior X30 Classes - a feat that had never been accomplished before, and has only been seen once since when Ben took both titles again in 2019.

2016 saw Ben take the step up to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, continuing with his backing from the Racing Steps Foundation. A 4th-place finish on his debut event was quickly followed by dominant back-to-back victories in rain-soaked Hungaroring and Pau. From here, he secured three further podium finishes on his way to 9th overall in the championship.  

The end of the season saw Ben offered the opportunity to gain his first experience in a GT3 car, testing the Audi R8 GT3. An impressive performance lead to an approach from McLaren in their GT driver academy programme, setting up a change in direction for his career.

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2007-2013

Ben started karting in 2007 in the WTP Cadet Class. This would start a six-year incredibly successful karting career at British and European level.

His karting career started with him finishing a brilliant 4th in the British Kartmasters Grand Prix. He would take 2nd overall in the Little Green Man WTP Cadet Championship in 2007, moving into the Super 1 Cadet Championship and the MSA British Cadet Championship the following season - finishing 3rd and 5th overall respectively.

Ben moved into Junior Karting in 2009 in the KF3 class, where he finished 4th in the Formula Kart Stars Championship.Racing Steps Foundation began to become involved in Ben's career from 2010, which saw him combine British Championship Karting with European Karting. The following year, Ben won the 2010 British Kartmasters Grand Prix, the Formula Kart Stars Championship and finished as Vice-Champion in the MSA British Junior Karting Championship.

He remained in Juniors the next season, finishing 2nd in the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy, 3rd overall in the MSA British Junior Championship and won his second British Kartmasters Title in 2011.

A move to Seniors in 2012 saw him as teammate to now Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 Driver Charles Leclerc. During that season, Ben won the Super One KF2 British Championship, the CIK-FIA European KF2 Championship, finished 4th in the WSK Euro Series and 6th in CIK-FIA KF2 World Cup.

2013 was Ben's final year in karting and saw him finish 3rd in the WSK Euro Series and 2nd in the WSK SuperMasters Series. He signed off the 2013 season with his debut single-seater event, taking victory and a 2nd-place finish to claim the Formula Renault Autumn Cup championship title.

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