It’s been just a few days since reigning British Cadet Champion, Taylor Barnard, announced his move to Kart Republic to race abroad in the OK Junior class. It came as no surprise given the remarkable achievements from Taylor last year, but it was a recommendation from Formula 2 driver, Oliver Rowland, followed by a successful test which sealed the deal for the 13 year old.
A look back at 2017
So, what exactly was it that Taylor done that caught the eye of many in the industry, well where do we start? He cleaned up the British Cadet Championship going unbeaten in the first ten finals going on to eventually win 11 of the 14 finals. Along with that Taylor dominated the LGM Series and won both the GP plate and O plate.
The Fusion Motorsport driver was hardly beaten all year and he made the IAME Cadet class a race for 2nd rather than a real race for victory! Backed by Andy Priaulx Sports Management, off track Taylor was always very confident in front of the camera and never seemed to look under pressure or get flustered. Having spent a day their myself it’s easy to see why!
The first test
After such dominance, it was hardly ever going to be a surprise to hear Taylor would be moving up but to be a part of Dino Chiesa’s new setup, Kart Republic, is very impressive. The initial test was put together with the help of Formula Two driver Oliver Rowland. Oliver raced for Dino back in 2009/10 with the pair winning the 2010 CIK-FIA World Cup.
With Oliver setting up his new Cadet team, Oliver Rowland Motorsport, last year he was hugely impressed with Taylor’s performances and put his name forward to Dino. That earnt Taylor a test late last year at Lonato, South Garda and the success of that has now led to a signing for 2018.
Speaking about the deal Oliver commented: “I am very pleased to have been able to guide Taylor into the next step in his career. Having watched what he did in last year’s Cadet category there was no doubt in my mind that he deserved an opportunity to fight with the best! I raced for Dino and Chiesa Corse in 2009/10, and he taught me a lot and we had some great results. Between Dino and Taylor, I am sure they can form a strong partnership and have a successful 2018!”
Where will Taylor be racing in 2018?
Taylor will have a busy 2018 season racing in the CIK-FIA World & European Championships along with all the WSK events and the DKM Championship. This will take Taylor around the best tracks Europe with just one race back home at PFI for round two of the CIK-FIA European Championship.
It’s a big step up from IAME Cadet, but one fellow Brit Harry Thompson made look almost easy last season as he finished 2nd in the European Championship and 3rd in the World Championship. Predicting how Taylor will get on is difficult, but I think he is going to be a very exciting addition to the CIK, WSK and DKM paddocks. He’s very talented and will be going in prepared, with all that said I can honestly see him fighting for podiums throughout the season.
Speaking ahead of the season Taylor commented: “The test at Lonato couldn’t have gone any better, and I really enjoyed the experience of not only learning a new track, but also learning a new kart as well – both of which I thought went really well. I feel over the moon to be given the opportunity to race under the guidance and expertise of Dino, and can’t wait to give my all for the team. I must give special thanks to Oli who put me forward for this chance – it gives me even more drive now to succeed and do the best job I possibly can.”
Who is Dino Chiesa?
Dino has been the man running the Zanardi chassis over the last few years with big success last year after Danny Keirle won the CIK-FIA World Championship at PFI. Prior to that a fellow Brit, Tom Joyner, found success with Dino as they won the World Championship in 2013. Other Brits to race with Dino include Lewis Hamilton, Matthew Graham, Callum Illot, Dan Ticktum and Ed Jones.
It’s safe to say Taylor is following in some pretty big footsteps but is also with a huge and successful name in the sport!
On the news Dino commented: “Having Taylor join KR [Kart Republic] is a boost to the team. It is clear that the level of British Cadet racing is very high and Taylor has proved he can compete and win on a regular basis. It is a big step to OKJ directly, but we believe he can be competitive and the objective is to win races and championships together.”
What is Kart Republic?
Kart Republic is a completely new project for 2018. It was founded by Dino last year having stepped away from the Zanardi chassis. It’s a new chassis which is going to be manufactured and supported by Breda Racing. The chassis has been described as ‘unconventional’ but with Dino’s experience it’s hard to think it’ll be a slow chassis. With a good driver line up it’s going to be interesting to see how it goes against the might forces of Tony Kart and CRG.
What’s first for Barnard?
The first race for Taylor will be next weekend at Adria for the WSK Champions Cup. Having had a pre season test this weekend he’s had a good chance to get himself prepared and find out where he stands in comparison to his fellow competitors.
Great Britain completely dominated European and World Karting in 2017, with drivers like Taylor moving up there’s every chance that will continue in 2018.
Taylor Barnard Racing Timeline:
British Cadet Championship, 1st
LGM Series, 1st
British Open Championship, 1st
British Cadet Championship, 7th
British Open Championship, 2nd
British Cadet Championship, 5th
British Cadet Championship, 15th
Trent Valley Kart Club Championship, 3rd
Trent Valley Kart Club Championship, 14th
Trent Valley Kart Club Championship, 10th
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images courtesy of Kartpix, KSP & Phil Askey