Ben Barker catches the eye with a new lap record at Le Mans
Mixed fortunes for Cambridge driver
Ben Barker enhanced his reputation with a stellar display at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The 27-year-old Cambridge-based driver and the Gulf Racing team were in the #86 Porsche 911 RSR for their third attempt in the LMGT-Am category.
They made a strong start to the week-long event, with Barker keeping the #86 among the quickest LMGT-Am runners throughout practice and qualifying, notching the second fastest time in the final session.
Having proved to be the fastest car in the category, their fortunes turned with Mike Wainwright at the wheel as an accident at the Indianapolis corner left the car in need of lengthy bodywork repairs.
They rejoined four laps down so were always playing catch-up, and they were only able to lift the car up to 10th by the chequered flag, but Barker emerged with the fastest GT-Am lap of the race – 3min 52.600sec – and a new lap record.
“Everything about this race is a testament to both Porsche and the Gulf team,” said Barker.
“Not only was ours the quickest car out there, but it also survived quite a hefty shunt that many other cars would not have.
“Of course, the final result is not what we were hoping for and it’s frustrating that, after two solid performances in 2016 and 2017, our luck changed just as we got a fast car, but these things happen.
“It was a bitter-sweet weekend at a race that’s always full of emotion – I’d have loved to have been going home with a trophy, but a new lap record will look just as good on my CV… until next time.”
Barker and the Gulf team will be back in action in round three of the FIA World Endurance Championships at Silverstone from August 17 to 19.