Ben Barnicoat to Replace Théo Pourchaire in Impul's Super Formula Entry at Autopolis

Ben Barnicoat replaces Théo Pourchaire in Impul's Super Formula team for the Autopolis round. Pourchaire departs to join Arrow McLaren in IndyCar, leaving the Super Formula seat vacant.

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Ben Barnicoat to Replace Théo Pourchaire in Impul's Super Formula Entry at Autopolis

Ben Barnicoat to Replace Théo Pourchaire in Impul's Super Formula Entry at Autopolis

British driver Ben Barnicoat will replace Sauber F1 driver Théo Pourchaire in Impul's #19 Toyota-powered SF19 for the second round of the 2024 Super Formula season at Autopolis on May 17-19. Barnicoat, the reigning IMSA GTD Pro champion, steps in as Pourchaire departs to join Arrow McLaren in IndyCar, leaving the Super Formula seat vacant.

Barnicoat's appointment currently only covers the Autopolis round, with Impul yet to decide on a driver for the remainder of the season. The 26-year-old Briton last competed in single-seater racing in 2020 and has focused primarily on sportscar racing in recent years. He did get a taste of Super Formula machinery during last year's post-season rookie test at Suzuka, where he tested for TOM'S and posted a best time of 1m37.482s, just over a second off Kamui Kobayashi's benchmark.

Pourchaire had originally been slated to contest the full 2024 Super Formula campaign with Impul alongside his Sauber F1 reserve driver duties. However, the 19-year-old Frenchman was called up by Arrow McLaren to substitute for the injured David Malukas at the Long Beach and Barber Motorsports Park IndyCar rounds. After impressing the team in those two outings, Pourchaire secured a contract to drive the remaining IndyCar races this season, except for the Indy 500, necessitating his exit from Super Formula.

While Barnicoat's Super Formula debut ensures an international presence on the grid for the Autopolis round, his participation beyond that event remains uncertain. Several clashes between the Super Formula and IMSA calendars this year make it unlikely for Barnicoat to complete the full season in Japan. Impul will need to evaluate its options for a longer-term replacement if it wishes to maintain consistency in its driver lineup.

The 2024 Super Formula season kicked off last month at Fuji Speedway, with defending champion Ritomo Miyata taking victory for TOM'S. The championship now heads to Autopolis for round two, where Barnicoat will aim to make a strong impression in his series debut as he fills in for the IndyCar-bound Pourchaire in the Impul machine.

Key Takeaways

  • Ben Barnicoat replaces Théo Pourchaire in Impul's #19 Toyota-powered SF19 for Autopolis Super Formula round.
  • Pourchaire departs for IndyCar, joining Arrow McLaren after impressing in substitute role.
  • Barnicoat, IMSA GTD Pro champion, steps in for Autopolis round, with future rounds uncertain.
  • Barnicoat last competed in single-seater racing in 2020, focusing on sportscar racing since.
  • Impul yet to decide on a driver for the remainder of the 2024 Super Formula season.