Six long weeks since the Super GT Championship was last in action, the world-renowned series will resume this coming weekend at Chang International Circuit in Thailand where GT300 points leader Sean Walkinshaw is aiming to add to his 2018 haul of silverware.
Marking the only visit outside Japan for Super GT, the fourth event of the season in Buriram on Saturday, 30th June, and Sunday, 1st July, should provide Walkinshaw and team-mate Shinichi Takagi with a strong opportunity to bid for another podium finish.
Walkinshaw, from Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, has performed very impressively in his second season in Super GT with Autobacs Racing Team Aguri and heading to Thailand he and Takagi lead the GT300 standings – albeit tied on points with rivals Takamitsu Matsui and Sho Tsuboi.
Beginning the year with a top six finish at Okayama in Japan, Walkinshaw and Takagi went on to dominate round two at Fuji Speedway where they steered the No.55 BMW M6 GT3 to a sensational victory of almost half a minute to rocket to the top of the championship.
Last time out in Suzuka, the track least suited to the ARTA BMW, the team-mates couldn’t add to their points tally with the characteristics of the circuit limiting them to a 20th place finish. Notably, though, they still managed to remain on top of the standings.
Now, just a few days away from the midway point of the 2018 campaign, Walkinshaw is determined to challenge for his and Takagi’s second podium of the season and to try and build an advantage at the top of the championship once again.
“The track in Thailand does suit our car quite nicely, and we have a decent amount of weight [ballast] on the car compared to our main rivals so we should be competitive”, said the Briton, “I’m fairly positive and pretty confident we can challenge for the podium at the weekend, at the very least we should be in the top five.
“I’m looking forward to heading back to Thailand and the aim is to try and pull back away at the top of the championship. Suzuka was obviously disastrous for us, but we’re determined to hit back and take plenty of points away.”
During last season’s visit to Buriram, which took place later in the year as the penultimate round, the ARTA drivers only just missed out on the GT300 podium by a mere 0.2 seconds in a race which began on a wet track, but progressively dried throughout.
“We were so close to the podium last year”, reflected Walkinshaw, “We had the speed to finish in the top three, but we were stuck behind the third placed car later on and just couldn’t pass. Buriram is a really nice track to drive, it is quite short and quite basic but it flows well and is very enjoyable.”
Qualifying for round four of the Super GT Championship will take place this Saturday, 30th June, at Chang International Circuit with the race itself following on Sunday, 1st July.
2018 Super GT Championship – GT300 Driver Standings:
1st Sean Walkinshaw & Shinichi Takagi, 26pts
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. Autobacs Racing Team Aguri