Barker graduates to Porsche Supercup with Bleekemolen
After a long winter’s wait, Ben Barker is finally able to confirm that he will be stepping up from a successful Porsche Carrera Cup GB campaign to contest the globe-trotting Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in 2013.
The Briton, who first raced Porsches in Australia following his title-winning F3 campaign ‘down under’ in 2010, finished second in the UK-based Carrera Cup last season after putting together an unbeaten run of five straight victories in the second half of the season. Despite having options to return to the series for 2013, Barker set his sights on graduating to the top tier of single-make Porsche competition and will join the Team Bleekemolen operation for his debut season on the F1 supporting bill.
“It has been a long wait, but it was worth it,” Barker commented, “The Porsche Supercup was always the aim for 2013, especially after such a strong end to the 2012 season in the UK – and I couldn’t ask for a better team to be racing with than Bleekemolen. The Bleekemolen name is synonymous with Porsche competition and the team has already established itself as one of the strongest in the Supercup, so I am really looking forward to taking the next step in my sportscar career.”
The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is an integral part of the F1 race weekend, and will support the 2013 grand prix schedule at each of its seven European stops – including Monaco, Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza – before the season concludes against the dramatic backdrop of Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi. The season starts in Barcelona over the weekend of 10-12 May.
“The season will be a challenge in as far as I haven’t raced at many of the circuits before,” Barker admitted, “but I am excited about tackling some of the world’s most famous venues as part of my first international racing campaign. The highlights will obviously include Monaco – where I won an historic F3 race last season – as well as Spa and my home grand prix at Silverstone, but I am looking forward to each and every stop with the same enthusiasm.”
The car Barker will drive this year is also different to that which he took to the top of the podium with Parr Motorsport in last year’s Carrera Cup GB, as Porsche introduces a new 991-based 911 GT3 Cup model. The pure-bred racer’s 3.8-litre flat-six engine will produce 460hp, transmitted to the rear wheels via a newly developed six-speed sequential gearbox.
“The new car looks great and I can’t wait to get my hands on it,” admitted Barker, “It is another step forward again from the cars I campaigned in Australia and the UK, and should be exciting to drive.
Backing for the 2013 campaign will come from long-time sponsor CARS Europe and others still be confirmed, while Barker retains the support of 2012 team owner Paul Robe, who will act as an advisor to the Briton throughout the coming season.
“I have a lot to thank Paul for, particularly the car he gave me last season and the support he has provided in my efforts to find a place on the Supercup grid for 2013,” Barker acknowledged, “He will be an important part of my team for the coming year.”