Ben Barnicoat secures IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship GTD Pro Title

British racer Ben Barnicoat secured his biggest achievement to-date over the weekend, racing with Vasser Sullivan and Lexus Racing. As the flag dropped for the 26th running of Motul Petit Le Mans, the 26-year-old was confirmed the GTD PRO champion of the 2023 IMSA Weathertech Sportcar Championship, in just his second season running in the United States. The result also marks the first full-season IMSA GT titles for his teammate Jack Hawksworth, as well as Lexus Racing and Vasser Sullivan.

A blistering qualifying on Friday by Jack, put the #14 Lexus RC F GT3 on pole position and, having scored an impressive nine podiums heading into the season finale, the pair then simply needed to start the race on Saturday to confirm the title. Then, at 11.40 ET, the fluro yellow and black #14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 crossed the line to start the season finale, and added Ben and Jack’s name to the history books.

An extremely chaotic start to the race saw multiple full course yellow periods, with several incidents claiming competitors from across the different classes.  All was going to plan for the pair – joined for the final endurance event of the year once again by Kyle Kirkwood – as they remained in the fight at the front in the opening hours of the 10-hour battle. However, the race came to an early conclusion for the newly crowned champions shortly after the race got back underway following a further caution period at the four-hour mark. With a very rare mistake, Ben ran slightly wide and across the grass as he made his way around Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The minor error was harshly punished, with the Lexus sustained race-ending damage, but the championship was secured.

Commenting as the newly crowned 2023 IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship GTD PRO champion, Ben explained:

‍“I made my IMSA debut here in 2021, getting my first taste of the championship. If someone had told me at that point that in two years’ time that I’d be a GTD PRO champion, I don’t know if I would’ve believed it! That was always the goal when we set out on this this program, but it’s been phenomenal.

“I’m very lucky to race alongside Jack, as he is definitely one of, if not the best guy in IMSA right now. There is no one else I’d rather go racing with. A huge thank you to Lexus Racing for putting their trust in us, and we couldn’t have achieved the results this year without every member of the Vasser Sullivan team, who have given us an amazing Lexus RC F GT3. I feel I have joined an amazing family, who I am hugely proud of. It’s the first title in my second year, and I plan on staying around and hopefully getting a few more!”