Sean Walkinshaw has announced his graduation to the Formula Renault BARC Championship in 2011 with title winning outfit Hillspeed. The 17 year old, son of the late Tom Walkinshaw, is looking to make a big impact in his debut season of car racing.

After a limited karting career, Walkinshaw first drove a single seater at the Formula Ford 'Sampler Day' at Rockingham in November, but made the decision to begin his career in the 'slicks and wings' Renault series after a meeting with Hillspeed team principal Richard Ollerenshaw.

Walkinshaw said: “We're confident Formula Renault BARC is the best place for me to begin my single-seater career and where better to learn than with the reigning champions? Hopefully it'll be a strong year and we'll enjoy some good success together.”

The signing of Walkinshaw, announced at the 2011 Autosport International Show, is Hillspeeds second acquisition ahead of the new season, after already signing Formula Ford graduate Zaamin Jaffer. The team, who took Alice Powell to the 2010 BARC title, are also in discussion with several other drivers to complete their line-up.

Ollerenshaw commented: “We're absolutely delighted to have secured Sean's signature on a deal for 2011, we're confident he and Zaamin (Jaffer) will make a great pairing and we're still talking to a number of other drivers for the new season too.

“We're determined to give Sean the best possible start to his career in single-seaters and to provide the same environment which helped us win the Formula Renault BARC title last year. It's a superb start to 2011 for Hillspeed with both Sean and Zaamin already on-board.”