British racing driver Sean Walkinshaw made a successful debut in the Italian GT Championship at Vallelunga in Italy over the weekend, 10th/11th September, with a brace of excellent top 10 overall finishes, eighth in the SGT3 Class, after a last-minute call up to join the Drive Technology Italia team.
Marking his first ever race outing at the 2.5-mile track, the NISMO Athlete from Chipping Norton received the call to partner lady racer Francesca Linossi in the fifth event of the Italian GT season just a couple of days prior to the race meeting.
Piloting a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, a customer version of the car he races in the Blancpain GT Series, Sean made a strong impact on his category debut against competition from the likes of Ferrari, Audi, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Porsche and BMW.
Progressing from 15th on the grid in the weekend’s opening race into the overall top 10, the pairing finished less than four seconds shy of the ninth placed Ferrari 458 Italia of Eddie Cheever and Federico Leo. In the SGT3 Class, Sean and Linossi took a well-deserved eighth spot.
In the second contest, starting an elevated 12th on the grid, the duo took the chequered flag eighth again in the SGT3 Class but an improved ninth place overall to cap a strong first appearance for the Blancpain regular in the Italian national championship.
“It was fantastic to be part of the Italian GT Championship for the first time and great to experience Vallelunga”, reflected Sean, “Teaming with Francesca was good fun and the races went pretty well to be honest, I think eighth in class in both races was the best we could have achieved. I really enjoyed the whole event, it’s always great to get some extra seat time.”
With little chance to rest, Sean will be back in competitive action this coming weekend, 17th/18th September, during the final race of the prestigious Blancpain Endurance Cup campaign at the Nurburgring in Germany.
Joining-up with regular team-mates Matt Simmons and Romain Sarazin at Nissan GT Academy Team RJN, the Briton will be looking to try and replicate the Pro-Am points result the trio achieved back in May at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.