Chipping Norton’s Sean Walkinshaw will make his competitive debut in the newly re-energised Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this coming weekend, 25th/26th May.
Taking part in the opening event of the British F3 season at his ‘home’ track to gain some additional race mileage and seat time in his Dallara F308, the European Formula 3 Open ‘Copa Class’ regular is aiming to use the extra experience to help kick-start his 2013 campaign.
“I’m approaching the whole Silverstone weekend as more of a test than anything else”, said the Team West-Tec racer, “We’re going to be in against some much quicker cars from the FIA Formula 3 European Championship so we won’t really be able to compete that much. Having said that though a couple of my team-mates will be doing it as well so we’ll have a nice little battle amongst ourselves.
“Hopefully it’ll be a valuable weekend, I’m just focused on learning as much as I can and getting some more race experience in the F3 car. It is going to be nice racing on my home track, it’s always great to visit Silverstone, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Sean’s most recent outing in Euro F3 Open at Portimao in southern Portugal just over a week ago, 11th/12th May, was luckless from start to finish. Beginning with unfortunate troubles in qualifying, those were then compounded by incident in both races.
Forced to start the first Portimao encounter from 12th in the Copa Class, having sustained damaged suspension in qualifying, the 19-year-old wasn’t able to make much headway in the race when he was punted into retirement by a rival after just a couple of laps. In round four, an enforced pit-stop to remove debris from the rear of his Dallara dropped him a lap down to a finish of 11th in class.
“It was a bit of a nightmare all weekend to be honest”, reflected the Oxfordshire driver, “In first qualifying I damaged the suspension when I caught a kerb a bit too hard and in the race I got taken out. In race two qualifying, my new tyre run was disrupted by red flags but the race itself wasn’t going too badly to begin with to be fair.
“I went slightly wide at one point though and picked up some artificial turf in the rear floor of the car, it got stuck there so it was like there was no downforce at the back. So I had to pit to have it removed which ruined the race. If we can have two trouble-free races at Silverstone and make some progress it’ll stand us in good stead for the following weekend at the Nurburgring in Euro F3 Open.”
Provisionally, qualifying for the opening three rounds of the British F3 season at Silverstone will take place at 10.45 on Saturday, 25th May, with race one beginning at 15.10. On Sunday, 26th May, race two is scheduled to start at 12.00 with race three following at 16.55 – both of the Sunday encounters are set to be screened live on Motors TV.