One of Europe’s most popular race tracks, the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain, is the venue for the final event of the Blancpain Sprint Cup season – and the full Blancpain GT Series as a whole – this coming weekend, 1st/2nd October, where Sean Walkinshaw is aiming to wrap-up 2016 on a real high.
Buoyed by a season-best second place in the Silver Cup class during round four of the Sprint Cup at the Hungaroring in Budapest last month, the rapid NISMO Athlete and Nissan GT Academy Team RJN team-mate Ricardo Sánchez are targeting a top three end-of-year placing in the Silver Cup standings.
Climbing into fourth place in the championship on the category’s first ever appearance in Hungary, the duo head into the fifth and final race meeting of the Sprint Cup campaign in Spain just six points shy of the top three and only 13 points outside the runner-up spot.
Just over a week ago, Chipping Norton racer Sean concluded the sister Endurance Cup at Germany’s Nurburgring with a very strong race run in the No.22 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 and with that level of performance still fresh in the mind there is a strong feeling of positivity in the team.
Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya is another new venue for the Blancpain competitors and, as such, there are a number of unknowns. The 2.9-mile track features a mix of technical corners and high speed straights, meaning a fine balance needs to be struck in terms of set-up.
“We don’t know how the Nissan will go in Barcelona but we’re determined to end the Sprint Cup as strongly as we can”, said Sean, “It’s been a challenging year overall, the Sprint Cup has been tougher for us than the Endurance Cup races, but we’re going to Spain in a positive frame of mind.
“The main thing we’re focused on is the Silver Cup battle, we’re only six points behind third place and that’s the target. Hopefully we’ll be able to deliver one of our best performances of the season, I’ll definitely be giving 100% as always.”
Opening free practice at the Circuit de Catalunya for the Blancpain Sprint Cup will get underway at 08.00 (UK time) on Saturday, 1st October, with session two following at 11.30 (UK time) ahead of qualifying at 14.30 (UK time).
On Sunday, 2nd October, the final Qualification Race of 2016 will begin at 08.15 (UK time) with the Main Race following at 13.10 (UK time). Both contests will be streamed live online at http://www.blancpain-gt-series.com/live.
2016 Blancpain Sprint Cup ‘Silver Cup’ Standings (after Rd4)
4th Sean Walkinshaw/Ricardo Sánchez, 64pts