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Racers in Isolation: Ben Barnicoat

Ben Barnicoat shows off his new simulator rig and what he is doing to maintain fitness level…

Photo: Ben Barnicoat

Sportscar365 is asking drivers from around the world what they’re doing during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they’re coping with the racing downtime.

Thunderhead Carlin Racing and McLaren Automotive Factory Driver Ben Barnicoat (Twitter/Instagram) features in this edition.

Where are you sitting out the COVID-19 crisis?

I’m at my parents’ house which is in Chesterfield, near to Sheffield. I’m feeling pretty lucky to live in the countryside right now as it makes getting outdoors pretty easy.

What’s the one thing you currently can’t have that you miss the most, other than racing?

Seeing my friends. Obviously racing is the number one thing I miss but aside from that I just really enjoy going and having a good laugh with them to take myself away from the stress of racing. 

Approximately how many airline miles have you flown since the start of your racing career?

I’d hate to know! I started flying a lot at the age of 15 when I began international karting with ART Grand Prix and I’m now 23…

The last five years I’ve been tracking my flights and it averages out at about 65/70 flights a year, so I’d guess it would have to be around 1 million air miles?

It’s a lot of time sitting down in the air doing nothing I know that! 

What’s your favorite holiday destination?

Tough one as I haven’t had too many holidays yet due to so much racing over the last few years!

But, at the start of 2020 I spent five weeks in Australia as I had the Asian Le Mans Series race at The Bend in early January and the Bathurst 12 Hour in February. I had an unreal time there.

Me and Jack (Manchester) went to Port Lincoln which was an incredible place that I’d never heard of before with so much nature and beauty, and then I had an epic time in Melbourne with all my Bathurst teammates.

What are you doing to maintain your fitness level?

Lots of mountain biking and running at the moment.

I took part in the BRDC Drivers Half Marathon, which was a challenge to say the least! There were around 40 of us who did it alone where we live to raise funds for the NHS in these difficult time and we managed £35,000, which was amazing.

Do you have any favorite ‘chores’ to do around the house?

I’ve been doing a lot of grass cutting which seems to be what I’m best at after racing! Both at home and at PF International Karting Circuit which my dad is the manager of. I actually quite enjoy it!

Myself and the old man also finished building his ‘Man Cave’ in the garden which has been an awesome way to get out of the house and have somewhere to chill with a couple of cold ones!

What other form of motorsports would you like to try your hand in?

I’m quite lucky to already do a few forms, last year I competed in LMP2 with Thunderhead Carlin and GT3 as a McLaren factory driver, but then I still do a bit of karting where I came 2nd place in the World finals and have had the odd outing in a Brisca Formula 1 car which is a very different style of racing to what I’m use to but still really enjoy.

If I was to try something new and completely different I think it would have to be WRC. I’d love to feel how they handle and feel how fast it must be when you’re fully lit clipping some trees!

What’s the one thing you are most looking forward to the first day you return to a race track?

The first low fuel, new tire run in the LMP2… what a feeling!

I got my sim a couple of weeks ago from Pure Sims which is also run by BTCC driver Ash Sutton. I’ve spent way too much time in it since I got it, but having a lot of fun racing against all the other motorsport boys!

I got P2 in the First SRO E-Sports series race in the McLaren 720sGT3 so I’m hoping to try and have a good result in that championship.

Photo: Ben Barnicoat

Photo: Ben Barnicoat

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