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Tag: Sean Walkinshaw

Sean WalkinshawSingle-seater racer Sean Walkinshaw is delighted to confirm he will contest the upcoming Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series, which begins at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit on 20th/21st October, after concluding a deal this week with MTECH Lite.

Continuing his association with the Derbyshire-based squad, with whom he has raced in the main Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship this year, the Chipping Norton driver will go into the four-round series hoping for a consistently strong campaign as he builds his experience.

Although only in his second full season of motorsport at any level, the 18-year-old has improved markedly throughout a very busy 2012 with highlights including a double victory on his Formula 3 debut in the MSV F3 Cup, podium finishes in the InterSteps Championship and a top six finish on his maiden outing at Paul Ricard HTTT in the south of France as part of the Asian Formula BMW series.

“I’m really looking forward to the Winter Series, it should be good and I think we can go into it with a lot of confidence after my recent results”, said Sean, “We always wanted to stay with MTECH, it’s a great team and we all work really well together. We’ve definitely made good steps forward during the second half of the BARC season.”

The opening two rounds at Brands Hatch in Kent will run as part of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship package, therefore guaranteeing crowds in the region of 30,000 spectators and also bringing the promise of live television coverage on ITV4 for at least one of the races.

Three weeks later, the final two rounds of the Winter Series will be held at Rockingham International Sportscar Circuit near Corby on Saturday, 10th November, the scene of Sean’s first podium finish in the InterSteps Championship recently during only his fourth race meeting in that series and also the venue for his first ever car racing podium in last year’s Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series.

“Having the first two rounds as part of the TOCA package is obviously a great way to start, it’ll be fantastic racing with such big crowds and I can’t wait to get out there on such a good international circuit as Brands GP”, added Sean.

Before then, of course, the Oxfordshire youngster will contest the final two rounds of the main 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC season at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire this weekend, 6th/7th October.

Running as support to the BTCC, like the opening rounds of the Winter Series, the second of the event’s two Formula Renault encounters on Sunday will be screened live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD, and streamed live on the www.itv.com/btcc website, from 15.10 – check listings for more details.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Sean Walkinshaw - V8 Ute, Calder ParkAspiring 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.

Sean Walkinshaw - InterStepsRockingham International Sports Car Circuit proved a happy hunting ground for Sean Walkinshaw on Sunday, 2nd September, as he secured his maiden InterSteps Championship podium finish on only his fourth weekend in the series.

Having matched his previous best result of sixth during round 18 on Saturday, 1st September, despite running with an engine problem, the SWB Motorsport driver delivered his most competitive performance of the season yet in an eventful round 19 on Sunday to take a deserved third place.

Starting the second of the weekend’s three races from seventh on the grid, the 18-year-old made a great start to climb into the top five at Deene Hairpin before challenging, and subsequently passing, Jack Aitken for fourth position at Tarzan.

Although tagged heavily from behind on lap two at Deene, which damaged the rear wing of his Mygale FB02, Sean managed to hold onto his fourth place prior to the emergence of the Safety Car on lap six.

Unexpectedly, championship leader Matt Parry was forced to pull off the circuit from second place while the race was under caution and so Sean was able to profit to move into third. At the re-start, on lap nine, he maintained the position and stoutly fended off Nikita Miliakov over the last four laps.

“It’s good to get on the podium”, said Sean, “I was worried I’d got a puncture from being hit at the first hairpin, the rim was digging into the tyre so I don’t know how it didn’t deflate. We had some problems with the engine unfortunately as well but if I could get ahead of people off the start it was fine as I could defend, and that’s what I was able to do in the second race.”

Making the required good getaway at the start of round 20 on Sunday afternoon, from sixth on the grid, the Chipping Norton racer looked to try and gain at least one position on the run through Turn One of the Oval into Deene but he was boxed in at the hairpin and had to lift off the throttle.

Exiting the corner in sixth place, he remained there to the chequered flag on lap 15 but even with the lack of top-end from his engine he was able to lap within 0.7 seconds of podium pace to cap a strong and encouraging, if somewhat frustrating in parts, weekend.

While the final event of the 2012 InterSteps Championship will take place four weeks from now at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire over the weekend 29th/30th September, Sean will be back on track next weekend, 8th/9th September, for his debut outing in a Formula 3 car in the MSV F3 Cup.

Taking place at Anglesey International Circuit in North Wales, the seventh event of the F3 Cup season will see the Oxfordshire driver pilot a Dallara F302 fielded and engineered by experienced squad Lanan Racing.

Photo by Paul Davies / Paul Davies Photography.

Sean Walkinshaw - Pembrey InterStepsPembrey in South Wales proved a happy hunting ground for first year InterSteps Championship racer Sean Walkinshaw on Sunday, 5th August, as he took a season’s best sixth place finish on only his third weekend in the series.

Although difficulties with over-steer hampered his potential in qualifying, the Chipping Norton driver was still able to post the seventh fastest time in the opening session – securing a starting slot at the head of row four of the grid for the opening encounter – but had to settle for eighth in session two.

Making a good getaway at the beginning of race one on Saturday, 4th August, the 18-year-old still encountered over-steer issues, especially through the slow speed turns such as the Hatchets and Brooklands hairpins. Even so, Sean managed to see off the challenge of both Matteo Ferrer and Nikita Miliakov to bring home a seventh place finish at the wheel of his SWB Motorsport car.

Starting the first of Sunday’s races from the outside of the fourth row, the category rookie quickly became the filling in a Falcon Motorsport sandwich at the first hairpin as things got very tight into the right-hander and he subsequently needed to pit for his Mygale FB02 to be checked for damage.

After rejoining the race, Sean increased his pace throughout and two separate Safety Car periods enabled him to get back in the thick of the action. Fighting his way into the top six to secure his best InterSteps finish to date, he also posted his fastest lap on the final tour to confirm his improvement.

For race three, Sean started in ninth position but progressed through into seventh and performed well to get his car to the chequered flag on rapidly fading rubber. The grip of the tyres fell away significantly during the closing stages but he maintained seventh with a strong showing.

“Sixth was good from the first of Sunday’s races but the contact at the start meant I lost two places, I had to come in and get the car checked over by the team so, without that, I think we could have had a fifth place as our pace was pretty good”, said the Oxfordshire teenager.

“We did have problems with over-steer on Saturday but that wasn’t too bad on Sunday. I’m still not completely used to the car but we’re definitely improving – getting as much mileage as possible in all conditions is what we need. I would have liked some rain this weekend to help my experience but, for once, none came!”

Sean’s next InterSteps Championship outing will come four weeks from now at Rockingham, near Corby in Northamptonshire, over the weekend 1st/2nd September. Before then, he will be back in action in the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship on 18th/19th August at Donington Park National Circuit in Leicestershire.

Photo by Paul Davies Photography.

Sean Walkinshaw - 2012 LiveryProtyre Formula Renault BARC Championship racer Sean Walkinshaw continued to impress during officially timed testing at Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk this week, the 18-year-old lapping the 2.97-mile track a full second faster than his previous best.

Providing the Chipping Norton driver with a massive confidence boost, his best time of the two day outing (Wednesday, 7th March, and Thursday, 8th March) came on the final morning when he posted a lap of 1m52.791 seconds (94.76mph).

Unfortunately for Sean, a relatively slow-speed excursion just before the end of the morning session on the second day resulted in significant damage to his MTech Lite car – enough to rule him out of the afternoon run, frustratingly.

Although the early conclusion to the test wasn’t what he had planned, such was the progress made in East Anglia this week, in particularly inclement conditions by and large, Sean feels increasingly confident as the opening rounds of the season – which will take place at Snetterton – edge ever closer.

“I’m ecstatic at the progress we’ve been making, I’ve improved so much in only a small amount of time since being with MTech”, said the Cheltenham College student, “The team has taught me a lot and I think my overall ability has improved a long way since last November in the Finals Series – going one second faster than I’ve ever been at Snetterton before is a huge improvement.”

The opening morning of this week’s test was an almost complete washout with Sean only venturing out momentarily in heavy, continual rain. Session two offered some improvement in the weather but it wasn’t until the afternoon before anything like a drying line began to appear, Sean posting a best time of the day of 2m08.835 seconds (82.95mph).

“The first day I only went out for two laps in the first session, it was very wet and there was a lot of aquaplaning – there was no point being out there”, added Sean, “We did get some good experience in the wet and the dry though over the two days so that’s been very useful.”

Rounds one, two and three of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship, which will be only Sean’s second full season of car racing, will take place at Snetterton on Easter weekend, 7th/8th April.

Sean WalkinshawSean Walkinshaw made an encouraging start to the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship pre-season at Donington Park National Circuit on Thursday, 1st March, by posting a fastest time just half a second outside the existing lap record.

The 18-year-old Cheltenham College student, who hails from Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, is heading into only his second full season of motorsport action this year having debuted as a complete car racing novice in Protyre Formula Renault BARC at the start of 2011.

Arriving at Donington for the first officially timed run of the pre-season, Sean and his MTech Lite team were significantly buoyed by the youngster’s tremendous progress. Lapping the 1.98-mile track with a best time of 1m08.335 seconds (104.26mph), he ended the outing almost a full second clear of Brazilian driver Henrique Baptista.

More notably, of course, the lap got him to within just 0.5 seconds of 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Champion Dino Zamparelli’s lap record, set at Donington last April. In the morning session, Sean was also the quickest BARC driver with a time of 1m08.926 seconds (103.36mph).

Travelling across the East Midlands to Rockingham Motor Speedway for an unofficially timed run at the Northamptonshire venue on Friday, 2nd March, the Oxfordshire racer maintained his momentum with another impressive outing.

“It’s been a good start to the year so far”, said Sean, “Everything is going really well with the guys at MTech, it’s a great team and they’re really helping me improve. Donington was great, to get within half a second of the lap record shows the sort of improvements we’ve been making. Formula Renault BARC is a very tough championship but, if we continue like this, it should be a good season.”

After testing a Formula Ford car during a ‘sampler day’ at the tail end of 2010, following a brief and limited rookie karting campaign the same year, Sean made his car racing debut in 2011 in Protyre Formula Renault BARC and concluded the season with a best result of 13th place at Thruxton.

Going on to contest the six-round Formula Renault 2.0 UK ‘Finals Series’ in the BARC Class, he secured a quartet of fourth place results at Snetterton in Norfolk during the opening weekend before achieving his maiden car racing podium in the sixth and final round at Rockingham. In terms of the championship standings, he ended the winter series in fourth position.

For the 2012 season, more testing is planned during the coming weeks before the first race meeting of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship takes place at Snetterton in Norfolk over Easter weekend, 7th/8th April.

For all the latest news regarding Sean’s progress, visit www.seanwalkinshaw.com

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Howard Fuller - Hillspeed, ZandvoortReigning Protyre Formula Renault BARC champion squad Hillspeed is eyeing a potential expansion into the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup for 2012 after a successful debut at Zandvoort over the weekend, 13th/14th August, during the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 support event.

Travelling to The Netherlands with all three of its regular BARC drivers, Howard Fuller, Zaamin Jaffer and Sean Walkinshaw, the Derbyshire team managed to outpace and out-perform a large number of category regulars.

Both races were affected by dreadful weather but it proved no barrier to Hillspeed’s trio – especially Walkinshaw for whom it marked his maiden run in the wet. In the first encounter on Saturday, Fuller climbed from 21st on the grid into an excellent 15th place finish before bettering that in race two by rising from 19th position into a superb 13th place – just 0.2 seconds shy of the top 12 at the flag.

Indian racer Jaffer qualified within 0.3 seconds of his team-mate to secure a place alongside Fuller on the 11th row of the grid for race one. Ending the opener 20th overall, Jaffer too had his strongest run in the second encounter when he scythed his way through fantastically into 14th position from the back of the grid – his lower than expected grid slot caused by an unfortunate excursion in second qualifying.

Car racing rookie Walkinshaw faced, by far, the toughest test of his maiden season in single-seaters but he gave a very good account of himself by finishing 22nd in the opener and a much improved 18th in race two. With it being the teenager’s maiden experience of a Formula Renault in wet conditions, his double finish was all the more impressive on his Zandvoort debut.

Making the most of the opportunity to enjoy some additional running as an invitational entry in the latest round of Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, Hillspeed is now seriously considering a full-time entry into the increasingly popular championship.

Team principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: “We’ve had an exceptional few days at Zandvoort, the NEC is a fantastic championship and a very attractive option for Hillspeed as we look ahead to next year and the opportunities available to us.

“Howard, Zaamin and Sean all did a great job this weekend and we’re delighted with the level of performance we were able to show. At this stage NEC is definitely on our radar for 2012, Zandvoort has been a great experience for us and we’d certainly like to hear from drivers considering the championship as an option for next year.”

Hillspeed’s single-seater trio will return to action in the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship three weeks from now on Saturday, 3rd September, at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire. On the very same weekend, the team’s Ginetta Junior squad will travel to Knockhill in Scotland for the 13th and 14th rounds of its championship season.

Photo by Chris Schotanus / Essay Produkties