Walkinshaw ready for Fuji 500
Sean Walkinshaw is set for the second race of his maiden season in Super GT Championship, the Fuji 500 Km. Autobacs Racing Team Aguri driver who partners Japanese racer Shinichi Takagi in the GT300 class, claimed a top five result on his debut at Okayama and now is targeting more steps forward on his second appearance in the category.
“We made a very good start to the campaign in round one and I’m looking forward now to being back at Fuji”, said Walkinshaw, “We haven’t had as much testing there as we had at Okayama, but we know our car is competitive from how strong it was last year and the testing we have done at Fuji has gone well. I’m really, really enjoying driving the BMW. In many ways it’s the opposite of the Nissan I raced in Blancpain over the last couple of years as it’s strong in the slower speed sections. It’s very good on the brakes too but there are still lots of things I need to learn, especially pace over one lap.”
At Okayama just over a fortnight ago a red flag interrupted qualifying session threatened to leave a mountain to climb in the 300 Km contest, but the ARTA BMW M6 entry shone on raceday with Takagi getting the encounter off to a terrific start. From 18th on the GT300 grid, he stormed through the order and during the mid-race pit stop phase the BMW did lead at one point. Following the driver change, Walkinshaw raced very competitively on his debut and while a Safety Car period did impact the ARTA tyre strategy the Briton still secured an excellent fifth place, little more than half a second behind the top four.
Heading to Fuji the Briton is relishing his next challenge, saying: “It’s going to be quite a long race at 500km, I’m looking forward to it and the aim is obviously to get up to speed as quickly as possible. It’s been a good start so far, hopefully we can build on that in Fuji and take away some big points.”
Practice and qualifying for round two of the Super GT season at Fuji Speedway will take place next Wednesday, 3rd May, with the 500 Km contest scheduled for Thursday, 4th May, during a three-day national holiday.