Long-time Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver Ben Barnicoat has joined the McLaren GT Driver Academy for a full season of GT3 racing in 2017.
Barnicoat will make his debut with the factory GT3 driver squad at the Bathurst 12 Hour, Australia’s international endurance race next month (February 3-5).
The 20 year-old from Chesterfield - who has also been part of the McLaren Formula 1 Young Driver Programme - will join reigning Bathurst champions Tekno Autosports for a two-car assault on the 2017 title.
The Brisbane-based squad is entering a pair of Class A PRO 650S GT3s - car number 1 for 2016 Bathurst champion Alvaro Parente, alongside Blancpain Endurance Cup Champions Rob Bell and Côme Ledogar and car number 59 for the trio of Barnicoat, Bathurst 1000 champion Will Davison and sportscar stalwart Jonny Kane.
Further details of Barnicoat’s 2017 RSF-funded race programme will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Barnicoat, a Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and BRDC Formula 4 Autumn Trophy championship winner, said: “To join such a prestigious team as McLaren is a fantastic opportunity for me to demonstrate my capabilities in a new discipline. As such it’s one I relish.
“I can’t thank the RSF and McLaren enough for creating this opening for me.”
RSF founder Graham Sharp applauded the two-times FIA European Formula 3 race-winner’s dedication and discipline which had enabled him to step up another rung on the motorsports ladder.
“Having the financial backing and management to enable you to compete is one thing,” he said. “Having the discipline to dig deep and turn in race-winning drives is another. Ben has shown he has that discipline in abundance.
“The very fact he has made his way into the McLaren GT Driver Academy proves that beyond the shadow of a doubt. It moves him another step along the way to becoming a full time professional driver.”