Barker at Le MansBen Barker was immediately on the pace on his first visit to the famous Le Mans circuit to net second place behind fellow Supercup driver Earl Bamber. The Oxford based driver returns to Parr Motorsport with whom he won the opening rounds of the Carrera Cup in the guest car. Ben’s pace put him clear of Carrera Cup GB rival Michael Meadows by one and a half seconds.

“It was really good,” said Ben. “It’s an amazing track. I just went out and got on it right away, going as fast as I could to find the limit. I picked it up quicker than I thought which is good and we’re P2. I’m excited for qualifying and the rest of the weekend. I know where I was losing time. On the peak of my tyre I was 1.2 seconds up and then hit traffic so certainly there is more time in the car. I love it.” 

Ben’s Parr team-mates Peter Kyle-Henney and returning 2013 ProAm 2 champion Peter Smallwood also enjoyed their first experiences of the track. “It was awesome,” said Kyle-Henney. “I came here with a little bit of trepidation but it all disappeared after the first corner and by the time you get to the two chicanes after you’ve been down the Mulsanne straight you just want to go faster and faster and faster. So that’s what I did, I just pushed the car as much as I could. Absolutely brilliant.”

For all the drivers it was a case of having to learn the circuit as they went. Peter Smallwood managed to get some time in a simulator before he arrived however a pre-session track walk also helped all the drivers.

“I learnt a lot but there is a lot more to learn,” said Peter. “Particularly on braking points. It’s so incredibly difficult to get your braking point marker especially on Mulsanne corner. Porsche curves was better than I thought it would be but there is still plenty more to come.“ “I thought it would take five laps but I got it in two.” Added Kyle-Henney. “I knew where the circuit was so then it was a case of getting the braking points, getting the turn in right and on the power as early as you could.”

Peter Kyle-Henney in free practice at Le Mans“Absolutely astonishing’” said team boss Paul Robe. “It was a brilliant effort from the team. It’s great to be where we are with Ben and all the cars are home safe and sound. Ben did a brilliant job so we’re right up there and we’ve got a great reference for our other drivers as well. It really shows the ability that Ben has got but it’s early days. It’s first free practice so we can’t really say we’re on top of the game because everybody will move forward and that’s what we’ve got to achieve. It’s a very good starting position to be in because we are close so all credit to everyone for the effort they’ve put in.”