Profile: Ben Barnicoat
16-year-old British driving sensation Ben Barnicoat, the 2012 CIK-FIA European KF2 and Super One MSA KF2 British Champion and current Formula Renault 2.0L competitor, joined the McLaren Young Driver Programme in 2010.
Ben started racing in cadet karting championships at the age of nine and it wasn’t long before success followed. In 2007, he won the WTP Cadet Open and Motors TV Cadet Karting Championships in addition to becoming the WTP ‘Little Green Man’ Vice-Champion.
The following year he was back on the ‘Little Green Man’ grid determined to become champion. It was a feat he achieved, in addition to achieving third place overall in the MSA Super One National Cadet Karting Championship.
In 2009, Ben graduated to KF3 karting and participated in the MSA Formula Kart Stars, Kartmasters Grand Prix and Super One Junior Championship. He performed remarkably well, achieving fourth in the Kart Stars and seventh in the Grand Prix.
Ben returned the year after, claiming the Kart Stars title, winning the Grand Prix and finishing Vice-Champion in the Super One Junior Championship. That year he also triumphed in the 2010/11 KF3 Winter Series and ABkC 0-Plate Championships.
2011 saw him compete once again in the Super One Junior Championship, where he finished third, as well as driving in CIK-FIA’s major cup competitions and championships. Ben picked up valuable experience in the Academy Trophy, World Cup and European Championship. Second place in the Academy Trophy was the highlight of another hugely successful season.
Last year he decided to take up the challenge of KF2 karting and achieved instant success. After seven wins, 11 podiums and five pole positions he became MSA KF2 Super One British Champion. He also became CIK-FIA KF2 European Champion after appearing on the podium twice.
This year Ben competed in the WSK Euro and Masters Series as well as the CIK-FIA KF European and World Championships, impressing with a string of excellent drives during the course of the season.
In November 2013, Ben made his single-seater debut in the BARC Formula Renault 2.0 Autumn Cup, at Rockingham, making an instant impression by claiming his maiden single-seater title with a dominant performance in his opening race. Over three races at Rockingham, Ben finished 1st, 2nd and 1st, fending off the challenge of some experienced competition.
Ben Barnicoat Quickfire Q&A
Q: Which race you are most proud of?
BB: "It has to be the race at Germany in the 2012 CIK-FIA European championship. I qualified on pole by three tenths before being excluded for a manufacturing error in the engine. Therefore, I had to start last in all of the qualifying heats and work my way up. After starting in 22nd for the first final which I finished fifth in, I took second place in the main final. This meant I had come from 106th overall to 2nd!"
Q: Who's your racing hero, and why?
BB: "My racing hero is probably Michael Schumacher because he was a massive inspiration for me to start my own racing career. Although his second career didn’t match up to his first, nobody will ever be able to take his seven world titles away from him."
Q: What's your first memory of McLaren?
BB: "My first memory of McLaren is from the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix when race-leader Kimi Raikkonen’s front wheel fell off with only a few laps left."
Q: What's your favourite racing circuit?
BB: "My favourite racing circuit is Glan-y-Gors in Wales. I like it so much because I have had a lot of success there throughout my career. I also love the track’s tight and twisty sections!"
Q: What type of exercise do you do?
BB: "I like going to the gym, swimming, running, cycling, and neck exercises."
Q: What's your favourite drink?
BB: "Strawberry and banana smoothie."
Q: What's your favourite meal?
BB: "Spaghetti bolognese with meatballs."