Kart star Jack Barlow impressed on his maiden run in Mark Godwin Racing’s BARC Renault car at Brands Hatch (10 October).
The highly-rated, multiple-title winner intends to make the transition from karts to cars and is considering both the new Formula 4 series and the established BARC Renault championship as the possible launch pad for the next phase of his career.
Barlow tested Formula BMW machinery in 2011, at Valencia and Rockingham, but chose to concentrate on karting. Now he says the time is right to make the move: “I wanted to complete my education in karting and get some big wins under my belt. I’ve done that now and am ready to push myself in a new arena,” he said.
Having previously tested MGR’s car Intersteps car at Rockingham, Barlow was keen to work with the team again – albeit in a completely different environment: “I’ve only ever been to Brands as a spectator and hadn’t sat in a Renault before Wednesday. It was quite a daunting prospect and the first time I ran into Paddock Hill Bend at speed I was like ‘Wow!’ I was really conscious of not damaging the car, so the morning session was pretty steady.”
With excellent feedback from the engineers, driver coach Dean Smith and Godwin himself, Barlow began to push in the afternoon sessions and his lap-times fell.
MGR owner Mark Godwin commented: “It is fair to say that the Formula Renault is a big step from karting, so unsurprisingly, Jack took a while to feel really comfortable with the car moving around – particularly at high speed. Towards the end of the day, after completing over 200 laps, it was clear to see he was gaining confidence in the high levels of grip the car offers and began to exploit this more in the high speed corners.”
A target lap time of around 46 seconds around the Indy circuit was set, with an added incentive of £5 jokingly waved in front of his visor. By the end of the day, he had achieved both.
“Comments from the other drivers testing and our highly experienced driver coach, Dean Smith, were that Jack learned the circuit very quickly and had a really good awareness of the correct racing lines. He integrated into the team very well and was keen to learn from them. His feedback was very good for a driver with such little experience in single-seater racing cars. His pace and control in all the slow and medium speed corners was a match for the more experienced drivers we have been working with recently. I feel that after a structured test and development programme over the winter, Jack will likely be running at the front of whichever championship he chooses to compete in 2013.”
Keep up to speed with Jack and his racing career by visiting www.jackbarlowracing.co.uk