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Charles Bradley

Barnicoat: Lexus will give Corvette a “hot battle” over runner-up spot

Barnicoat won last time out with fellow British teammate Jack Hawksworth at Road America in their RC F GT3, but he admits the title is realistically now out of reach – with the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche of Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet being 227 points ahead with two races remaining.

However, Barnicoat is just 10 points ahead of Corvette’s Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor going into this weekend’s race at VIRginia International Raceway.

“The Pfaff car would have to have two stinkers to put us back into the title hunt, or not even start one of the races, which is highly unlikely, so all of the focus is on second place for myself as well as the manufacturers’ and teams’ championships,” said Barnicoat.

“So the way to that goal is to have a strong end to the year. We’ve gone into every race this year in an ‘attack mode’ ­– it’s a shame the title has got away with the #9 [Porsche] being so strong, but we’re confident despite knowing that Corvette will be strong in the remaining races. It’s going to be a hot battle for second, that’s for sure.

“I think we’re in a good place heading into VIR off the win at Road America, we’ve been constantly improving, we’ve got good momentum and it’s great to have Jack back after his injury. Last year the team was on the podium there without having the strongest car and we feel like we’ve improved in areas this year.

“It’s a track we haven’t tested at, so it’ll be the first time I’ve driven the car around there, but there’s no better way to head into a race than coming off a win.”

#14 VasserSullivan, Lexus RC F, GT3, GTD PRO: Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat, #9 PFAFF Motorsports, Porsche 911 GT3R, GTD PRO: Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet (Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images)

Barnicoat is alone in the standings as Hawksworth was forced to miss two rounds due to a training injury. Hawksworth returned for the Lime Rock round and then shared victory at Road America, after Barnicoat passed Jaminet with a move that the TV cameras missed.

“It’s a shame the move wasn’t on TV, it was a really good one,” Barnicoat said. “I really hadn’t driven the Lexus in the wet apart from a few laps at Daytona, so it was quite a voyage into the unknown for me.

“I gave up the lead when I touched the kerb braking for Turn 5 and Jaminet got by me, and I was really disappointed about that – it could’ve been the moment we lost the win, having had it in our hands. It was a tough battle, so close the whole way, so I pushed hard to keep him on his toes.

“Then we all pitted for slicks and how it worked out was the GTD Pro cars were all behind the GTD cars and it was crazy! Everyone was packed-up on the second lap of the restart, there were slower cars ahead of us, and he got a bit caught up at the last corner and I was able to get around the outside of him there.

“It was really close but that was the half chance and I had to go for it. I was looking forward to watching it back myself, then found out that it wasn’t on TV!”

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