Ben Barnicoat signs off from McLaren

Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Racing news
Following five years of top competition, Ben Barnicoat has confirmed an end to his relationship with McLaren. The 2021 season marks the conclusion of his Factory Driver role with the British brand, having been instrumental in the development of the latest 720S GT3 model, as well as taking the car to podium results across the globe.

Ben brings his relationship with McLaren to a close having competed at the top level of GT3 competition with the brand, leading the charge in rounds of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, GT World Challenge Europe, GT World Challenge America and, most recently, the IMSA championship.  His position as Factory Driver also saw him as a key member of the development team working on the continued improvement of the 570S GT4 and the launch of the 720S GT3.

Ben’s links with McLaren started back in 2010, becoming a member of the famous Formula 1 team’s young driver programme. Over the next six years, the Chesterfield-born ace worked closely with the team during his single-seater career, and in conjunction with the Racing Steps Foundation. It was then in 2016, following an impressive karting and single seater career, that his career switched to GT competition, earning a place in the McLaren GT Driver Academy for the 2017 season. During this impressive debut season of GT racing, Ben scored podium results in both the Intercontinental GT Challenge and GT World Challenge America, earning him the role of a fully-fledged McLaren Factory Driver for the 2018 season. A role he has held through until the close of 2021. During this time, Ben played a fundamental role in the development of the 720S GT3 throughout 2018, including debuting the car on its world premiere in Abu Dhabi later that season, before racing the car all over the globe for numerous customer racing teams with successful results on all stages. Particular highlights include a 2nd-place finish at the famous Liqui Moly Bathurst 12hr in 2020, and scoring the first endurance race win for the 720S GT3 with victory at the Gulf 12 Hours in 2021.

Commenting on his time with McLaren, Ben explained:
“I don’t really know where to begin. McLaren has been a huge part of my life and my career. I started my relationship with the team at the age of 13, when Indy Lall scouted me to be a part of the famous Formula 1 young driver programme, and that is where this journey really began for me. The team supported me throughout my single-seater career, with the Racing Steps Foundation, and then when it became apparent that GT racing was the direction that I was going to go, McLaren was there again to support me and give me my first shot at being a professional racing driver. Initially this was as part of the McLaren GT Academy before progressing into the full factory role in 2018. From the point of becoming a Factory Driver, I am incredibly proud of everything we, as a team, have done and achieved together. To be a part of the GT3 development, and to debut the car at the event in Abu Dhabi was an amazing moment for me.  Building on that, I have had many great races in the car, racing with some great teams and teammates across the world. There have been a number of highlights with the 720S GT3 but finishing second at the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2020 really does stick out. It was such a special race, a huge team effort, and the first big endurance race we had run with the car. We had a great team, great support from the factory, and the whole event felt like a real milestone for the car. From this result, and standing on the podium, it was a real springboard to it becoming one of the world’s best GT3 cars, which, no matter where I end up, I’ll always feel a part of.
“I’d like to thank each and every individual that I have worked with during my time at McLaren – far too many names to list off – but particularly Indy Lall from the Formula 1 team, Ian Morgan and Dan Walmsley from Customer Racing, and Mike Flewitt for the support over the years and really believing in me. They gave me the chance to progress, shaping me into the driver that I’ve become. I’ll never forget these years where I have earnt my stripes as a professional driver thanks to their support.”

Ben will confirm further plans of his 2022 season in the coming days.