Walkinshaw signs off with his third podium of the year

Sean Walkinshaw and Shinichi Takagi on the podium in the final race
Sean Walkinshaw and Shinichi Takagi on the podium in the final race

Sean Walkinshaw wrapped-up an outstanding first season in the prestigious Super GT Championship with his third GT300 podium on Sunday after racing to an excellent second place finish at Motegi in Japan.

Along with Autobacs Racing Team Aguri team-mate Shinichi Takagi, the 24-year-old Chipping Norton driver concluded the 2017 campaign fourth in the championship standings but tied on points with third place – just 11 points outside the top two.

It’s been an amazing experience and I’m very happy to have taken a few podiums and a win in my first season

Chipping Norton driver Sean Walkinshaw

Walkinshaw said: “Obviously, not being able to get the win at Motegi was disappointing, probably the most disappointed I’ve been all year to be honest. But ending the season with second in the final race, back on the podium, is still a very strong way to finish the year.

“Super GT was an entirely new challenge for me this year, new tracks I’d never been to and the strategy of the races was a whole new thing for me. It’s been an amazing experience and I’m very happy to have taken a few podiums and a win in my first season, the ARTA guys have been fantastic and I’ve learnt so much from them and Shinichi-san.

“We did take a risky strategy by not pitting for fresh tyres, only fuel, and it almost paid off. Finishing in second, where we started the race, was good though and it’s definitely been a good season.

“I’ve been on the podium three times with Shinichi-san, we’ve had a win and if I’d been offered that at the beginning of the year I would have taken it.

“The ideal plan for 2018 is to come back to Japan again and fight for the championship. We are looking at other things too, and I’d love to get another Blancpain [Endurance Cup] drive, but Super GT is a fantastic championship and I’d love to be back.”