The fastest English undergraduate in Britain
Josh Barnett, an undergraduate in our School of English, made an impressive start to the season in his other field of interest – motor racing.
Like Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, Josh started racing in karts. After six years he moved up to Formula Ford in 2009, initially using an old car that his father had driven. The following year the Barnetts bought a new Formula Ford 1600 Van Diemen* car and had some terrific races, including at Thruxton, Britain's fastest circuit, where Josh took pole position, won the race and notched up the fastest lap too.
In 2011, an expensive accident kept Josh in the garage for most of the season, but 2012 has started fantastically with another pole/win/fastest lap triple whammy at one of the most iconic circuits of all, Brands Hatch.
In the first race of the Champion of Brands series last month, Josh held off strong competition from rivals Adam Quartermaine and Oli White. For much of the race, the trio were separated by less than a third of a second but as they came up to lap some back markers, Josh was able to pull ahead and had a 1.2sec lead when the race finished prematurely (red-flagged because of a car stranded on the track).
21-year-old Josh is in the final year of a BA in English but is somehow managing to balance his revision for the exams with preparation for the second Champions of Brands race on 2 June. He races as number 90 and is sponsored by Assured Valeting Group and ZZ Creative, a graphic design agency based in Rothley.
*Van Diemen cars are now part of the Elan group.