British racing driver Sean Walkinshaw will return to the high-profile Super GT Championship for a second season this year after today, Friday, 12th January, confirming he will remain with top entrant Autobacs Racing Team Aguri for a major title push in GT300.
Teaming-up once again with vastly experienced racer Shinichi Takagi, after an outstanding debut season in Super GT partnering the Japanese legend last year, 24-year-old Walkinshaw is thrilled to be remaining in one of the globe’s biggest endurance racing categories for 2018.
“I’m so pleased to be returning to Super GT again this year with the ARTA guys and especially with Shinichi-san as my team-mate for a second season”, said the Chipping Norton driver, “We gelled so well together last year, had a fantastic season and, to be fair, we weren’t that far away from the championship in the end.
“With a full year of experience behind me, and with knowledge of all of the tracks, I’m confident we can build on the win and podiums we achieved last season and really put together a very strong year for ARTA. Super GT is obviously one of the toughest and most competitive championships in the world, but we’ve got a strong package and we’re determined to mount a big challenge for the title.”
Set to again share driving duties in their trusty BMW M6 GT3 in the all-action GT300 category, Walkinshaw and Takagi will go into the new season – which begins on 7th/8th April at Okayama in Japan – benefiting from fantastic continuity.
Last year, the duo started their maiden season together with a hard-fought top five finish at Okayama after battling through from 18th on the grid – their qualifying having been impacted by an unfortunate red flag stoppage. From there, a genuine podium bid went awry in round two at Fuji Speedway but a superb debut rostrum result came next time out at Autopolis.
In round four at Sugo, mid-race contact from a rival robbed the duo of a second consecutive podium but they hit back in style on the return to Fuji for round five with an absolutely dominant first GT300 victory. Hopes of more silverware in round six at Suzuka weren’t realised after early-race contact, but in Thailand for the penultimate race a top four finish meant their title bid was still alive.
In the championship finale at Motegi, Walkinshaw and Takagi raced to a deserved runner-up spot but it wasn’t quite enough in terms of the championship battle. The pairing ultimately ended the 2017 season fourth in the standings and tied on points for third.
The new Super GT Championship season will again be contested over eight rounds, starting at Okayama in Japan over the weekend 7th/8th April and reaching its conclusion on 10th/11th November at Motegi.
2018 Super GT Championship Calendar
Rd1 Okayama, Japan – 7th/8th April
Rd2 Fuji Speedway, Japan – 3rd/4th May
Rd3 Suzuka, Japan – 19th/20th May
Rd4 Buriram, Thailand – 30th June/1st July
Rd5 Fuji Speedway, Japan – 4th/5th August
Rd6 Sugo, Japan – 15th/16th September
Rd7 Autopolis, Japan – 13th/14th October
Rd8 Motegi, Japan – 10th/11th November
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. Autobacs Racing Team Aguri