Busy Ben completes hectic Le Mans task

MEMORABLE WEEKEND: Clare-raised driver Ben Barker competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the weekend Picture: Porsche Media
MEMORABLE WEEKEND: Clare-raised driver Ben Barker competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the weekend Picture: Porsche Media

Just as he had on his Le Mans debut 12 months ago, the Clare-raised driver enjoyed a largely trouble-free run in the twice-around-the-clock marathon. It underlines the strength of both the #86 Porsche 911 RSR and the pre-race preparation carried out by the team in the weeks since round two of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa-Francorchamps.

Leading the driver line-up on his second top flight sportscar appearance at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Barker spent 10 hours behind the wheel of the familiar pale-blue and orange Porsche, completing vital stints through the night before bringing the #86 to the chequered flag at the end of 328 gruelling laps.

Barker crossed the line 10th in class and 39th overall in a field of 60 starters.

“A year ago, I said that taking the chequered flag at the end of my first Le Mans 24 Hours would be a memory hard to beat,” the 26-year-old said.

“This year’s race was different in a lot of ways, but no less memorable, especially as, once again, the Gulf Racing car didn’t miss a beat.

“To have now enjoyed two trouble-free runs at Le Mans is an incredible testament to the entire organisation and my thanks go to everyone who made it possible.”

Barker combined his World Endurance Championship duties with two outings in the supporting Le Mans GT3 Cup alongside amateur team-mate Andrew Barker.

“Switching between cars wasn’t a problem and, having recently tested the #20 Gulf Porsche 911 GT3R, I was able to jump straight in and pull out some fast laps, but taking class pole by 1.3 seconds was still a nice surprise,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we were denied the chance to convert that into a meaningful result in either of the two races.”

Barker will be back in action next month for the Nurburgring 6 Hours in Germany over the weekend of July 14-16.