Two-time McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist Ben Barnicoat, who is part of the prestigious Racing Steps Foundation programme, has today, Thursday, 14th January, completed a deal with Hitech GP to join the squad for the 2016 FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
Graduating into F3 after a stellar season in Eurocup Formula Renault last year, where he placed fourth in the ultra-competitive championship, 19-year-old Barnicoat is undoubtedly one of the UK’s hottest young single-seater prospects and a major signing for Hitech GP.
After completing a very successful test programme with Hitech GP in December at Jerez in Spain, which formed part of a comprehensive evaluation conducted by RSF co-ordinator Derek Walters, the Chesterfield racer is now preparing to make a big impact on his bow in F3 racing.
“I can’t wait to start testing in earnest”, said a thrilled Barnicoat, “It’s been a bit of a wait while contractual matters have been sorted but I couldn’t be happier. Hitech is a top team which has everything in place to succeed.
“Obviously, I’ll be on a steep learning curve and up against a really strong and experienced team-mate in George Russell, but my gut feeling is I’m in exactly the right place to serve my F3 apprenticeship.”
Barnicoat arrived in car racing during the autumn of 2013 off the back of a glittering karting career which delivered multiple title victories, including the 2012 CIK-FIA European KF2 crown and Super One MSA KF2 British Championship, and instantly made a huge impression.
Claiming the Protyre Formula Renault Autumn Cup title with two wins, during his first full season of single-seater action the following year in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup he won his second championship in succession.
Last year, Barnicoat achieved three race wins in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 on his way to a top four series placing. He then ended 2015 with his third title in two full years, after emerging victorious in the BRDC Formula 4 Autumn Trophy.
Oliver Oakes, Hitech GP Team Owner:
“We are extremely happy to confirm Ben as part of our FIA Formula 3 line-up. We evaluated several drivers for the seat during the end of last year and Ben impressed us immediately in Jerez.
“He was straight on the pace of the experienced drivers and his technical feedback was impressive for a driver new to F3. While he may be a rookie, his pedigree from karting and his results in Formula Renault the past two years show what we can expect from him over the course of the season.”
The 2016 FIA Formula 3 European Championship will commence over the weekend 2nd/3rd April at Paul Ricard HTTT in southern France. The season will conclude on 15th/16th October at Hockenheim in Germany.