British racing driver Sean Walkinshaw is to make the full-time switch to sportscar competition this year after being named as part of the three-driver MRS GT-Racing entry for both the Blancpain Endurance Series and sister Blancpain Sprint Series.
Marking a hugely exciting development for the 21-year-old’s career, Chipping Norton based Sean will race in the ‘Pro’ class in the hugely competitive international championships at the wheel of a brand new 2015-specification Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.
Sharing driving duties with fellow Briton Craig Dolby – a factory driver with Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 Official Partner of NISMO, JRM – the duo will be joined for the Blancpain Endurance Series events by an as-yet unconfirmed third driver.
“It’s amazing to be confirmed as part of MRS GT-Racing for the Blancpain GT Series, I’m really, really happy to be part of such a fantastic team”, said an elated Sean, “It’s all very exciting and especially with the brand new Nissan GT-R, I’m really looking forward to getting out in the car.
“This has been in the pipeline since last November really, we’ve been speaking about the possibility of this deal since then so I’m really happy to be joining Craig [Dolby], who I know quite well, in the Pro class. I’ve still got a lot to learn as I am inexperienced in GT racing, but Craig’s experience will be a big help and I hope we can be in the top 10 initially before fighting for podiums later in the year.”
Former single-seater racer Sean, who made a highly successful sportscar racing debut in the Gulf 12 Hours in December with a class podium finish in a Dragon Racing-run Ferrari 458 Italia, will embark on his busiest racing campaign to date with his move into the ultra-popular Blancpain paddock.
Visiting world-famous tracks such as Monza in Italy, Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in the UK, the Nurburgring in Germany and Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium as part of the Endurance Series, the Sprint Series will also travel to high-profile venues, including a British round at Brands Hatch, with blue riband street races in Moscow, Russia, and Baku in Azerbaijan.
“There are some fantastic circuits on the calendar, some I have experience of and others which will be completely new. It’s obviously going to be a huge challenge and there are a lot of very quick factory drivers in Blancpain, with huge experience, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in the guys around me at the team who I know will deliver a great car and help me improve as a GT driver.”
Round one of the Blancpain Sprint Series will take place at Nogaro in France over the weekend 4th/5th/6th April while the Endurance Series will get underway one week later, on 11th/12th April, at Monza in Italy.
Before then, official pre-season testing for the Endurance Series competitors will take place on 11th/12th March at Paul Ricard in France with Sprint Series testing following on 17th/18th March at Misano in Italy.