Blancpain GT Series racer Sean Walkinshaw makes a welcome return to track action on British soil this coming weekend, 7th/8th May, when the second round of the all-action Blancpain Sprint Cup takes place at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit.
Returning to the scene of his maiden Blancpain podium finish, the Chipping Norton driver having finished third in the Qualification Race during the corresponding fixture last year, the NISMO Athlete is looking forward to being back at the Kent venue in his first season with the Nissan GT Academy.
Fresh from an outstanding drive in the curtain-raiser to the sister Blancpain Endurance Cup at Monza in Italy just over a week ago, where the 22-year-old produced an eye-catching performance at the wheel of the No.22 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, Sean is aiming for a strong weekend back in the UK.
“Brands GP is a fantastic track, a great challenge for any driver, and should suit our car pretty well with the mix of medium speed and high speed corners”, he commented, “Last year I had my first podium in Blancpain there, so it holds good memories, and I’m hopeful we’ll be competitive and be able to give everyone a run for their money.”
Partnered by Mexico’s Ricardo Sánchez in the Sprint Cup, the duo didn’t have the start to the season they wanted at Misano last month when a possible Silver Cup class podium went begging after the Nissan was tagged at the final corner of the Qualification Race – dropping it to fourth. In the Main Race, they took a fifth place Silver Cup finish.
The Italian venue wasn’t the best suited track on the calendar for the No.22 car, but the same shouldn’t be the case at Brands Hatch where the powerful GT3 racer will have an opportunity to utilise its strengths.
Once again, a fantastic entry is expected for round two of the season with a total of 37 cars set to line-up on the grid with no fewer than nine manufacturers represented – underlining the prestige and competitiveness of the Blancpain Sprint Cup this season.
“It’s so close and competitive this year”, added Sean, “Qualifying, and the Qualification Race, are so important – a few tenths of a second make a huge difference. We’ll certainly be pushing as hard as possible to challenge for our first outright points of the season at the weekend.”
Following the usual free practice sessions on Saturday, 7th May, qualifying at Brands Hatch will get underway at 17.00. On Sunday, 8th May, the Qualification Race will begin at 12.05 with the Main Race following at 16.20 – both encounters will be screened live online at http://www.blancpain-gt-series.com/live.
2016 Blancpain Sprint Cup Silver Cup Standings (after Rd1):
5th Sean Walkinshaw & Ricardo Sánchez, 13pts