Nissan GT Academy Team RJN driver Sean Walkinshaw has high hopes for the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Cup at Monza in Italy this coming weekend, 23rd/24th April, where he will race for the first time with new team-mates Romain Sarazin and Matt Simmons in the Pro-Am Class.
Just a week removed from a tough first event of the sister Sprint Cup season, where he partnered Ricardo Sánchez in the No.22 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, Chipping Norton-based Sean is certain the long fast straights of Monza will enable the team to show its true competitiveness.
Round one of the Blancpain Sprint Cup at Misano didn’t get the 22-year-old’s motorsport year off to the start he or the team wanted after a challenging weekend, but the difficulties encountered there are highly unlikely to occur at the home of the Italian Grand Prix, which should suit the Nissan down to the ground.
This coming Sunday’s Endurance Cup contest will be a three-hour race with Sean, Sarazin and Simmons sharing the driving duties equally. Incredibly, the provisional entry list for the weekend features close to 60 cars with 22 of those battling it out in Pro-Am.
“Everyone is really looking forward to Monza – after the tough weekend we had in Misano in the Sprint Cup, this weekend can’t come soon enough”, said Sean, “It’s an amazing track, with so much history, and the layout really should suit our fantastic Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3. It’s going to be great being back in the proper endurance format and I’m confident it should be a good weekend.”
During the corresponding event at Monza this time last year, Sean and then team-mates Martin Plowman and Craig Dolby raced to a seventh position finish in the Pro Cup category – also at the wheel of a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, engineered by Nissan customer team MRS GT-Racing.
Targeting a similarly strong start to the 2016 Endurance Cup campaign, the Oxfordshire driver is very much looking forward to teaming-up with Simmons and Sarazin for the first time as part of one of the largest grids in world motorsport.
“The entry list this year for Blancpain is incredible”, he added, “There are so many amazing drivers, teams and cars and such a huge amount of competition. We’re here to race against the best though and I know the Nissan GT Academy team will give us a great car.”
Following practice on Saturday, 23rd April, pre-qualifying will take place at 16.25 (local time). On Sunday, 24th April, final qualifying will begin at 09.00 (local time) with the three-hour race set to commence at 15.00 (local time).
Live streaming will be carried HERE: http://www.blancpain-gt-series.com/live with the addition of live television coverage on Motors TV from 13.30 UK time.