Experienced Autobacs Super GT Championship racer Sean Walkinshaw will remain in the Far East based endurance category with Panther ARTO Team Thailand for 2020, staying on for a second season with the squad in the GT300 series at the wheel of a Lexus RC-F GT3.
The 26-year-old, from Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, heads into his fourth year in the renowned championship where he became Vice-Champion of the GT300 class in 2018 during his sophomore campaign – having previously raced in the Blancpain GT Series.
Walkinshaw, who has dual Scottish and Belgian nationality, will partner Thailand’s Nattapong Horthongkum for the second year running in Super GT this year and is determined to put together a strong season with a full year of experience aboard the Lexus under his belt.
The target for the new campaign is to be consistently in the top 10 throughout the eagerly awaited eight-round championship, and Panther ARTO Team Thailand will also draft in a third driver for selected races.
Once again, Super GT – which will be contested across six races in Japan and one each in Thailand and Malaysia – is expected to feature an immensely competitive grid with around 40 cars combined across the GT500 and GT300 classes.
“It’s fantastic to be back in Super GT again this year with Panther ARTO Team Thailand, the team has worked unbelievably hard on the car over the winter break and I’m sure we’ll have a competitive package for the new season”, said Walkinshaw.
“Last year wasn’t as strong as we’d hoped, but we’re all focused on making big strides forward. I obviously have a full year of experience in the Lexus now, it’s a very different car to the BMW I’d raced in Super GT during the previous two seasons. I’m not setting any major goals, but we are aiming to be consistently in the top 10 and to make good progress as the championship unfolds.”
Originally starting out his motorsport career in single-seaters, participating in Formula Renault before graduating to Formula 3 level action in the Euroformula Open, Walkinshaw made the move into GT endurance at the end of 2014 with a class podium in the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi.
Joining the Blancpain GT Series the following year with the MRS GT-Racing team and then being drafted into the Nissan GT Academy Team in 2016, the move to the Super GT Championship came a year later.
Ending his rookie year fourth in the GT300 standings with Shinichi Takagi, taking one win along the way in a BMW M6, in 2018 the duo just missed out on the coveted GT300 title with two victories en-route to the Vice-Champion’s position in the standings.
Okayama International Circuit in Japan is scheduled to host the curtain-raiser to the 2020 Autobacs Super GT Championship over the weekend 11th/12th April. Before then, Okayama is set to be the venue for a two-day official pre-season test this coming weekend, 14th/15th March.
2020 Autobacs Super GT Championship Calendar
Rd1 – Okayama International Circuit, Japan – 11/12 April
Rd2 – Fuji Speedway, Japan – 3/4 May
Rd3 – Suzuka Circuit, Japan – 30/31 May
Rd4 – Chang International Circuit, Thailand – 4/5 July
Rd5 – Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia – 18/19 July
Rd6 – Sportsland Sugo, Japan – 12/13 September
Rd7 – Autopolis, Japan – 24/25 October
Rd8 – Twin Ring Motegi, Japan, 7/8 November
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. Panther ARTO Team Thailand