Sean WalkinshawEuropean Formula 3 Open rookie Sean Walkinshaw is aiming for a strong start to his maiden season of racing on the continent when the 2013 Winter Series gets underway at Paul Ricard in France next Saturday, 16th February – the precursor to the main championship campaign which begins in April.

Making the move into Formula 3 this year for only his third full season of competitive motorsport at any level, the Chipping Norton 19-year-old will drive a Toyota-powered Dallara F308, engineered by multiple title winning squad Team West-Tec, in the ‘Copa’ Class of the burgeoning championship.

Next weekend’s opening round of the European F3 Open Winter Series will provide Sean’s first seat time in the car since testing at Valencia in Spain, just prior to Christmas, where he delivered a series of consistently competitive performances and was one of the true class pace-setters.

After two productive seasons in the UK in Protyre Formula Renault BARC – with further experience gained in the InterSteps Championship, Formula BMW Asia and the MSV F3 Cup where he secured a sensational race-winning double on his category debut – the Oxfordshire youngster is determined to hit the ground running on the European stage.

“Hopefully we can try and keep things on a high, the pre-Christmas test went really well so I’m aiming to keep that momentum going into the Winter Series”, said Sean, “We’ll do some work in the simulator before going out to Paul Ricard, it’s a circuit I know though from when I raced in Formula BMW [Asia] last year so I’m confident we should be able to get up to speed quickly.

“I’ve adapted to the F3 car much better than the [Formula] Renault, the extra grip the car provides just seems to suit me much more so I want to go out there and get on the podium. Unfortunately, I damaged my left knee ligament in training before Christmas so I’ve been recovering from that, but everything will be fine for next weekend.”

As well as being able to draw on the extensive knowledge gained over the years by British-based Team West-Tec, one of the most respected teams in European F3 Open, Sean also has the benefit this year of the driver coaching skills of 2012 British F3 International Series Champion Jack Harvey.

“It’s going to be great working with Jack and all the West-Tec guys this season, we all gelled really quickly in testing at the end of last year”, added Sean, “Everything went very smoothly, perfect really, so I can’t wait for Paul Ricard.”

Following a full day of officially timed testing on Friday, 15th February, at the Le Castellet track, qualifying and the opening round of the 2013 European F3 Open Winter Series will take place on Saturday, 16th February, with the race itself scheduled to begin at approximately 15.00 (local time).

Jerez in Spain will host the concluding round of the Winter Series on Saturday, 2nd March, with the main 2013 championship commencing on 27th/28th April with a return visit to Paul Ricard.