Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series rookie Sean Walkinshaw was satisfied with the experience gained on his first outing in the revitalised championship at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit at the weekend, 25th/26th May, taking a best finish of fifth in the National Class during race three.
Joining the British F3 field for the season-opening event as a means of gaining extra mileage behind the wheel of his Dallara F308, which he races full-time in the European Formula 3 Open, the Team West-Tec driver’s weekend was unfortunately hampered to some degree by brake issues.
Even so, he improved his pace during the event and produced his most competitive performance in the final outing on Sunday afternoon where he raced to 14th position overall and fifth in the National Class – also meaning he was the second highest placed driver in an F308 chassis.
Competing against rivals in newer F3 machinery from the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, the Chipping Norton driver’s focus at Silverstone was solely on benefiting from vital track time which he hopes to use to his advantage when the Euro F3 Open returns to action this coming weekend.
“The first race was alright but in the second and third races we really did have good pace”, explained Sean, “The car set-up was really good, the team did a great job, it was perfect in the second and third races.
“There are a lot of good positives from Silverstone, it was all about getting more experience and learning more about the car. Considering the problem, the lap times were pretty good and they were consistent too which I’m happy with. Overall, a mixed weekend but I learned a lot.”
Starting Saturday afternoon’s race in 18th position overall – seventh of the National Class runners and the third of the Dallara F308 drivers – Sean put together an impressive opening lap to climb into 14th place in the main classification and moved into 13th position on the following tour.
Before too long though, the Oxfordshire racer encountered problems with his brakes which led to a slip back down the order and resulted in a visit to the pits at the end of lap nine. After some work on his car by the Team West-Tec mechanics, Sean rejoined the encounter for the final four laps, taking seventh in the National Class and 15th overall.
For Sunday’s second round, Sean lined-up in 15th place overall and although slipping to 17th and seventh in the National Class he was happy with his pace, especially during the mid-part of the race where he lapped comparatively to his closest rivals.
Round three began with Sean seventh in the National Class, 17th overall, and even though he still had a few issues to contend with he managed to drive around the problems and progress into fifth in class and 14th in the overall classification.
Turning his attention back to the European F3 Open, next on the calendar for Sean is a trip to the Nurburgring in Germany for rounds five and six of the championship this weekend, 1st/2nd June.
Following free practice on Friday, 31st May, qualifying for round five and the first of the weekend’s races will take place on Saturday, 1st June, at 10.45 (local time) and 15.00 (local time) respectively. On Sunday, 2nd June, round six qualifying will begin at 08.30 (local time) with the race itself set to begin at 13.15 (local time). Motors TV will screen both races live – check listings for details.