International star joins father-son team

International Porsche star Ben Barker will re-join Grove Racing for next year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour alongside father and son, Stephen and Brenton Grove.

The trio make up a strong combination for the 2018 Australian Endurance classic, with the confirmation of their entry in Class B aboard a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car, which will field a special livery for the event.

The scheme features a stand out, Australian green and yellow base, with the iconic boxing Kangaroo on the sides and primary sponsor Grove Group plastered across the car.

Barker brings a wealth of experience to the team, having raced professionally since he burst onto the motorsport scene in his karting days.

Next year will be the 26-year old’s fourth Bathurst 12 Hour with Grove Racing, after he won the race in class in 2014, finished second in 2015 and again competed in 2017.

Since the 2017 race, Barker has enjoyed piloting a Porsche 911 RSR in the FIA World Endurance Championship, as well as contesting the infamous Le Mans 24 Hours with Gulf Racing.

The UK based driver is excited to come back to Australia next February and compete with the two Groves at what he says is one of his favourite race tracks in the world.

“I’m feeling good, feeling positive,” said Barker.

“Obviously we have the added addition of another Grove in the car, so good opportunity for Brenton to get some miles under his belt and do his first Bathurst 12 Hour.

“I’m super excited to be driving with him and driving with Stephen again, it’s going to be good fun. It’s going to be a case of staying out of trouble as it always is at Bathurst.

“Bathurst is probably my favourite track in the world. It’s the most demanding mentally and physically as well because of the heat.

“It’s got demanding cambers, the elevation that’s involved in the track is challenging so it’s very technical, very unique and there’s nothing else like it really.

“Once you get yourself into that synchronisation and flow it’s really enjoyable, but it can bite.”

Team owner Stephen is thrilled to have Barker re-join his Melbourne based squad for round the clock race and says the team is looking forward to going back and having a cleaner run than they did this year.

“Once we determined that Brenton was going to be driving next year, there was no doubt as to who we wanted to occupy the last seat,” added Stephen.

“Ben [Barker] is a tremendous driver and a great friend and we’ve had lots of success over the years. I’m thrilled to have him back again.

“It’s going to be so special to share a car with Brenton, he’s done really well this year and has even surprised me a little!

“I’m really excited to be able to drive alongside him and hopefully share some of my endurance racing experience with him”

Grove looks to add to his extensive endurance racing resume, competing at Bathurst only a few weeks after making his Dubai 24 Hour debut.

“After racing in the COTA 24H race earlier this month, I wanted to try and do as many endurance races as possible next year,” said Stephen.

“I really enjoy being a part of that team atmosphere which is why I wanted to compete at Dubai. So to go to Bathurst after two consecutive 24 hour races was something I looked forward to.”

Young gun Brenton is also pumped to hit the track in February for his first ever Bathurst 12 Hour, and is looking forward to working with Barker across the weekend to help develop his own driving.

“I’m really excited to drive for the team,” said Brenton.

“I’ve been around the event lots in the past, mainly running the team, so to be able to drive next year is pretty cool.

“Bathurst is such an amazing track and the team has a lot of history up there, so I hope I can play my role and have a decent result.

“Driving with Dad will be a pretty proud moment, we’ve spoken about this for a while so to finally put the plan in motion is really exciting.

“Ben has been a good friend of mine and has given me a lot of help throughout my career, so I’m thrilled to drive alongside him and continue to soak up as much information as possible.”

The 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour will take place from February 2-4.