Ben Barker will contest the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship after agreeing a deal to drive Gulf Racing's GTE-AM class Porsche 991 RSR at all nine rounds.
The move is the next step in a progression up the sportscar racing ladder for Barker, who has spent the past three seasons competing primarily in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup. The 24-year old Briton is already familiar with the Gulf Racing set-up, however, having contested selected races in its iconically-liveried Porsche during the 2014 European Le Mans Series, and brings further endurance racing experience from a part-time IMSA campaign the same season.
"2016 has provided me with the fantastic career progression opportunity of driving for the Gulf Racing Team in the WEC," Barker admitted, "Racing in such a prestigious championship with such a reputable team, I cannot wait to get started. The excitement of fighting for a FIA World Championship makes it a bonus!”
Barker will share the lone Gulf Racing entry with owner-driver Wainwright and Irishman Adam Carroll throughout the 2016 campaign, which will take the team from its home race at Silverstone to the Bahrain International Circuit via one of the most iconic motorsport events of all – the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Gulf Racing's entry into the 2016 WEC will also see a Porsche carrying the famous blue-and-orange colours race at Le Mans for the first time since 1971, where the legendary 917 - immortalised in the Steve McQueen film Le Mans
- took its final bow.
“I can't wait to get to Le Mans!” Barker admitted, “It is the pinnacle of endurance racing and will be the highlight of the season, especially as Gulf Racing will be back there with a Porsche for the first time in over 40 years. I'm sure Mike, Adam and I will make the #86 competitive.”