Barker helps Tully's Porsche to season's best result
DATE ADDED: Tuesday 15th July 2014
Ben Barker put his recent frustrations in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup firmly in the rear view mirror as he resumed his trans-Atlantic career with a season’s best result for the Tully’s Coffee/GB Autosport Porsche in the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship.
The 23-year old Cambridge native once again took his place alongside Irishman Damien Faulkner as the US-based series rolled into Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario, hoping to banish memories of a tough weekend at the British Grand Prix with another strong performance in the silver-and-black #81 machine. Initial practice results looked promising, with the Tully’s car in and around the top ten, but hopes of a strong grid position were dashed when qualifying left it down in 15th place in the GTD category and 35th overall on the multi-class grid.
“We were again struggling to get qualifying pace out of the car,” Barker confirmed, “We have been changing a lot of things on the car to try and find its sweet spot but, as testing is limited, this is costing us. Despite each of the three practice sessions looking good, Damien could only manage P15 when it mattered, which meant we had another fight on our hands.”
With just two drivers listed in the GB Autosport entry this weekend, Barker took the wheel for the start of the two-hour 45-minute race – and immediately showed the potential of the GB Autosport Porsche as he made up no fewer than ten places inside the first six laps! Having reached fifth in class, life got a little tougher for the BRDC ‘SuperStar’, who saw the gap to the leaders stretch a little as he attempted to battle his way through traffic without using too much of his tyres, but he still managed to pick up another spot before handing over to team-mate Faulkner.
“The first few laps were epic!” Barker enthused, “It was great to be able to show what the #81 could do as I carved my way up the order. I was trying to manage the tyres, and it was a little frustrating not to be able to latch onto the leading cars, but handing over in fourth position meant that Damian was in a great spot to continue pushing for the podium.”
Although the Tully’s car dropped to seventh during the handover, and was still not fully optimised in terms of set-up, Faulkner proved that Barker’s charge had been no fluke, quickly regaining fourth position and holding on for the remainder of the race – in spite of heavy pressure from behind - to bring home the team’s best result of the 2014 TUSC campaign.
“Damien did a fantastic job to hold position with a car that was not spot on,” Barker confirmed before heading back to Europe for his next outing in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup, “Limiting mistakes and good traffic control from the team meant that we picked up fourth spot, and I am delighted for the everyone at Tully’s and GB Autosport as it's a result we needed to boost spirits. It might not have been quite enough to make the GTD podium but, all in all, it has been a very positive weekend for GB Autosport. We still have further development to do, but things are clearly moving in the right direction.”
Round five of the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup takes place at Hockenheim in Germany over the weekend of 18-20 July.