Sunday, July 14, 2024


It's difficult to organize for an “extreme” debut in Super Formula after a late call-up

Team Impul revealed on Tuesday that Barnicoat will enter their No. 19 automotive for next weekend's second round of the season, after news broke last week that Theo Pourchaire wouldn’t return to the Japanese series to focus to IndyCar with Arrow McLaren.

Barnicoat, a full-time Lexus IMSA SportsCar Championship competitor, got his first taste of Super Formula machinery during TOM'S post-season testing in December, setting the fastest time in the ultimate rookie-only session.

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But after traveling to Japan right after last weekend's Laguna Seca IMSA round, Barnicoat is under no illusions in regards to the challenge he faces at Autopolis.

“Getting the call from Toyota was amazing,” Barnicoat told “I felt like I did an excellent job riding for TOM'S, but I definitely didn't expect to position within the race.

“It's so last minute, so it was hard to organize, but I'm really looking forward to it. Autopolis looks like a pleasant track, quite fast and smooth, just like Suzuki, which is sweet because I can use what I learned there and hopefully it won't be too far off.

“It might be a physically demanding race. I feel like I'm in good condition, but these cars are much faster than the GT3 cars, so it is going to be quite a physical challenge.

“I feel that I am good at adapting quickly to new situations and this is my strong point. But this is something extreme!”



Photo: Masahide Kamio

Pourchaire's sudden departure from Super Formula followed a disappointing season-opening round at Suzuka, where the Frenchman finished 18th.

However, Barnicoat says he just isn’t discouraged by Pourchaire's struggles, highlighting Ryo Hirakawa's win at Autopolis with Impul in 2022.

“Theo had a difficult time at Suzuka, but the team has achieved great results in the past,” he said. “Just a couple of years ago, Ryo [Hirakawa] won in Autopolis.

“So they know what they're doing and they have a lot of experience. I'm sure they can teach me a lot.”

Barnicoat has only been confirmed at Impul for this weekend's Autopolis round, with the 27-year-old stressing that he stays content together with his current IMSA duties with Lexus and has no hope of returning to single-seater cars full-time.

“To be realistic, I haven't raced single-seaters for four years,” said Barnicoat, referring to his performances with Carlin within the FIA ​​F3 and Euroformula Open in 2020.

“I believe I did an excellent job within the rookie test, but nobody expects me to come back here and win. I just need to do a solid job like I did at Suzuka and fill that void while they appear for a full-time alternative.

I’ll do my best and all the things that comes from it is going to be a bonus. I don't think it's going to vary the direction of my profession or anything.”

Motorsport.television will provide live coverage of all Super Formula races in 2024, including this weekend's races second round at Autopolis.

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