Aspiring professional racing driver Sean Walkinshaw made a significant piece of family history at Calder Park Raceway in Australia this week by testing a Walkinshaw Racing-run V8 Ute – the first time in 24 years a member of the famous motorsport dynasty has driven one of its own vehicles.
Evoking incredibly emotional memories, the 18-year-old’s debut at the Melbourne track was the first outing for a Walkinshaw in the driving seat of one of their own cars since Sean’s late father, Tom, piloted a Holden Commodore at Bathurst back in 1988.
“It was an amazing feeling being out on track in a Walkinshaw Racing car, obviously there was a bit of emotion there”, said the Chipping Norton youngster, “It was such a good experience driving the Ute and completely different to anything I’ve done before, there was so much more power than I’ve been used to – absolutely incredible to drive.
“It was amazing to have the Walkinshaw Racing guys there, especially Cam [Cameron McConville – V8 Ute and V8 Supercar racer] who gave me a lot of advice. It really was a fantastic opportunity and it’s definitely given me a taste for trying that style of racing in the future.”
Although Sean’s current racing priorities are in the Protyre Formula Renault BARC and InterSteps single-seater championships in the UK, where he is dovetailing both programmes in only his second full season of motorsport, the Oxfordshire driver is keen to gain as much experience as possible in a variety of cars and disciplines as he plans ahead for 2013.
With that in mind, Sean – who starred on his competitive Formula 3 debut earlier this month with two sensational victories in the MSV F3 Cup at Anglesey in Wales – will test the recently launched MRF Formula 2000 at Chennai in India next week.
The car, which is constructed by Dallara and is powered by a 2.0-litre Renault engine, will run in the brand new MRF Challenge which will begin on 27th/28th October at Buddh International Circuit in New Delhi, running as support to the FIA Formula One World Championship’s Indian Grand Prix.
“I’m really looking forward to testing the MRF car”, added Sean, “It’s going to be another great experience, a great opportunity to have more time in an F3-style car, and having driven in the F3 Cup a couple of weeks ago that will hopefully help me adapt quite quickly.”
Following next week’s test outing in India, Sean will fly back to the UK for the InterSteps season finale on 29th/30th September at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire. One week later, 6th/7th October, he will contest the last two rounds of the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship at his home track, Silverstone in Northamptonshire.