Taking place on Thursday, 3rd May, and Friday, 4th May, during the annual Japanese public holidays to celebrate Constitution Memorial Day and Greenery Day, the second event of the new campaign is one where the Oxfordshire racer has high hopes of securing his first podium of the year.
During the curtain-raiser at Okayama earlier this month, Walkinshaw and Autobacs Racing Team Aguri team-mate Shinichi Takagi opened their account with a top six finish at a track which didn’t favour the squad’s trusty BMW M6 GT3.
Fuji, though, is a circuit which undoubtedly plays to the strengths of the BMW and having taken an outstanding lights-to-flag win at the world-famous track last August in his debut season in Super GT, Chipping Norton’s Walkinshaw is determined to challenge for the top step on the podium again.
“Fuji holds great memories from last year, it’s a fantastic track and the ARTA BMW is strong there so I’m really looking forward to this week’s race”, said the 24-year-old, “We hoped for a little bit more from Okayama, but at a circuit which doesn’t suit the BMW we were all pretty satisfied with a top six to start the season. Going to Fuji, though, we’re aiming much higher.”
Entering his sophomore year with his sights set on mounting a bid for the GT300 title, after such an impressive debut in 2017, Walkinshaw knows consistency is key but is also well aware of the need to battle regularly for podium silverware.
During pre-season testing at Fuji, Walkinshaw and Takagi were fastest in GT300 on the opening day and quickest again during the second morning. With that in mind, added to the stunning result there last season, confidence is justifiably high heading into round two.
“If we can have a trouble-free couple of days then we’ve got a strong chance of the podium and a good chance of fighting for the win”, added Walkinshaw, “I said at the start of the season we’re intending to fight for the championship this season in GT300, and I’m confident we can. We need to have good consistency but we also need the podiums as well, hopefully we can get our first of the year at Fuji.”
Qualifying for round two of the Super GT Championship season takes place on Thursday, 3rd May, with the 500km race itself taking place on Friday, 4th May, at Fuji Speedway.
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. Autobacs Racing Team Aguri