It’s the opening round of the Blancpain Sprint Cup season for the Chipping Norton driver.
After watching his BRDC British Formula 3 Championship team, SWR, get its season off to a strong start at Snetterton in Norfolk over Easter, the 22-year-old headed straight into preparation for the visit to Italy where he is targeting a suitably competitive beginning to his own racing year.
Graduating into the ‘works’ supported Nissan GT Academy Team RJN this season after being named part of the prestigious NISMO Athlete line-up, Walkinshaw teams-up with Mexican driver Ricardo Sánchez in the Sprint Cup which will feature a record 40 cars for the opening round.
Graded as ‘Silver’ competitors this season, Walkinshaw and his team-mate will be battling for the overall title at the wheel of their Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 as well as the Silver Cup crown – in the latter, five driver pairings are eligible.
He said: “It feels like it’s been a very long winter since the final round last season, so I can’t wait to be back on the grid this weekend.
“It really is an exciting year in prospect, being part of the Nissan GT Academy team and a NISMO Athlete is a great feeling and I’m determined to repay the faith shown in me.
“Racing at Misano with a 40 car grid is going to be incredible, it’s not the biggest track on the calendar so qualifying and the races are going to be very busy. Qualifying strongly is going to be so important as I can certainly see the Safety Car being called upon at some stag.”
Alongside the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN entry, which features two cars, prestigious automotive brands such as Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes and Porsche will all be represented at the weekend.
The Blancpain Sprint Cup will be contested across a total of five events this year, including a visit to Brands Hatch in the UK in May, and will conclude in Barcelona, Spain, at the beginning of October.
Walkinshaw will also be part of the sister Endurance Cup which takes in five race meetings over the course of the year and gets underway later this month at legendary Italian track Monza.