Oxfordshire single-seater racer Sean Walkinshaw has his sights set on podium glory when the 2013 European Formula 3 Open season gets underway at Paul Ricard this coming weekend, 27th/28th April – the scene of a near rostrum finish for the ‘Copa Class’ driver a couple of months ago.
Impressing on his category debut at the French circuit back in February during the opening round of the two-weekend Winter Series, the 19-year-old had a certain top three class finish ripped from his grasp when shunted out of the race at the final corner of the penultimate lap.
Determined to make amends on his return to the Le Castellet track, and get the main championship season off to a successful start, the Team West-Tec driver is confident of beginning the campaign in fine form and challenging for some much-deserved silverware.
“I’m really confident for Paul Ricard and really looking forward to getting back out there racing”, said Sean, “The weather has got in the way of some of the testing we’ve done but we’ve made good progress in the last few weeks, hopefully we can make a strong start to the season.
“Having raced at Paul Ricard does make me that bit more confident going into the first round, but it’s the same for a lot of the other drivers in the championship and especially the ones who did the Winter Series. I think most of us will be on a level playing field really so we’ll see how it goes, I would like to try and start the season with a podium though!”
Marking the Chipping Norton racer’s first full Formula 3 campaign, and first full season at European level, the opening two rounds of the championship will provide a good indicator of the true competition Sean faces this year on his graduation from Formula Renault.
Gaining as much experience as possible last year, which was only his second season in competitive motorsport at any level, the Briton dovetailed racing in Protyre Formula Renault and the InterSteps Championship, while also making a double-winning debut in Formula 3 in the MSV F3 Cup.
As well as embarking on a healthy pre-season testing programme in F3 in recent months, he has also been keeping incredibly busy with his duties at the eponymous Sean Walkinshaw Racing (SWR) team which the teenager owns and runs in the UK-based BRDC Formula 4 Championship.
Sean will be back behind the wheel of his Team West-Tec Dallara F308 for the Euro F3 Open practice sessions at Paul Ricard HTTT on Friday, 26th April. Qualifying for the first round of the season will take place on Saturday, 27th April, at 11.00 (local time) with the race following at 15.00 (local time).
On Sunday, 28th April, second qualifying will begin the day’s on-track activity at 09.00 (local time) with round two scheduled to commence at 13.35 (local time).