Podium finishing EuroFormula Open racer Sean Walkinshaw will make his sportscar racing debut at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, 13th December, after confirming his intention to make a full time switch to endurance competition in 2015.
Eyeing a move into the ultra-competitive Blancpain Endurance Series or Blancpain Sprint Series next year, the 21-year-old will first sample a Ferrari 458 Italia run by the Dragon Racing team in the fourth annual Gulf 12 Hours just a week from now.
Split into two separate races, the first six-hour contest takes place in the daylight with a second six hour ‘night’ race starting a couple of hours later after teams have had opportunity to work on the cars during the interim.
The event will actually mark a number of firsts for Chipping Norton-based Sean – as well as his endurance debut, the race meeting will also be his maiden experience of competing at night and his first visit to Formula One venue Yas Marina.
“I’m really excited to be making the move into sportscars, I’ve had a fantastic time in single-seaters in Formula Renault and F3 but this is definitely the right point in my career to break into endurance racing”, said Sean, “I can’t wait to drive the Ferrari in Abu Dhabi, it should be fantastic.
“The aim is to obviously try and carve out a professional career and sportscar and GT racing provides the best opportunity for me to achieve that. Ideally, we’re looking at Blancpain next year but the chance to race in the Gulf 12 Hours first is going to be great preparation for whatever we do.”
Featuring some of the best GT3 sportscar teams from across the globe, the Gulf 12 Hours has increased in popularity since its inception and the 2014 instalment is set to boast a grid of over 30 cars – with two Ferraris entered by Dragon Racing.
Following an initial test session at Yas Marina on Thursday, 11th December, more practice sessions and qualifying will take place on Friday, 12th December, with individual sessions for each participant from the respective four-driver teams. The first part of the Gulf 12 Hours will begin at 09.00 (local time) on Saturday, 13th December, with part two getting underway at 18.00 (local time).
“This is a great way to end the year for me”, added Sean, “It’s all going to be a big learning curve but it’s a fantastic opportunity to get used to the endurance racing format and its unique demands. Yas Marina is obviously an amazing track, I’m really looking forward to it.”