Barker On Course For Carrera Cup GB
DATE ADDED: Tuesday 24 January 2012
Ben Barker will return to race his native Britain this season, after inking a deal to rejoin Parr Motorsport for the Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
The 20-year old has successfully plied his trade in Australia since graduating from Formula Ford at the end of 2009, claiming the CAMS Gold Star as Australian F3 champion the following season and making his Porsche debut last year. Immediately on the pace against respected opposition such as multiple Porsche champion Craig Baird and V8 Supercar veteran Steven Richards, Barker claimed fastest lap at his debut meeting in Melbourne, and rounded out the season with two victories on the streets of Homebush, in the suburbs of his adopted home, Sydney.
While remaining 'down under' was among his plans for 2012, however, Barker jumped at the chance to renew his association with Parr Motorsport, which fielded him for two rounds of the Carrera Cup GB in 2011. Two podium visits and a lap record on debut at Snetterton showed that the rookie could mix it with the series' established stars, and both parties hope that their 2011 campaign can lead to bigger things.
"The chance to drive for Parr came about through the two rounds we did last season, where I think I demonstrated my pace and podium potential," Barker commented, "Now we have worked something out for 2012, with a view to hopefully progressing to the Porsche Supercup in 2013."
Barker's long-term plans naturally rely on him finding the necessary sponsorship, but he is delighted to have the chance to ply his trade in front of those in positions of influence.
"It's a shame that we were not able to continue racing in Australia, because I firmly believe I would have had a good chance of competing for the title with Team BRM, but the UK series is probably better as a career move, especially if I want to move on into the Supercup," he reasoned, "I'm happy to be back with Parr Motorsport, and we can definitely hope for a good year. I know the car well now and, while there are a few circuits in the UK that I am not too familiar with, I have always been good at learning them quickly - and got a lot of practice at that on the street circuits in Australia. It certainly didn't do me any harm at Homebush!"
Despite a clash between his personal sponsor and that of the championship precluding a continuation of his Australian sojourn, Barker still hopes to be out on track 'down under' during the season. Indeed, he is heading back to his adopted home in the next few weeks 'to do some work' and explore opportunities in the Bathurst 12 Hours, as is keen to retain his profile among the racing community.
"I enjoyed a good relationship with BRM in both F3 and Porsches, and have a lot to thank the team for," he reflected, "It's a shame that there was a conflict of sponsorship as we would definitely have had the budget to run this season, but I'm hoping to get a few outings in the Carrera Cup Australia guest car this year. That would be great as I want to keep my face in front of the V8 Supercar teams, especially with regard to the endurance rounds in 2012-13."
Voted as last season's inaugural Porsche Michelin Sportsperson of the Year, Barker has already had his place as a BRDC Rising Star reconfirmed for 2012, and expects to start work with Parr on his return from Australia.