Just when you thought it was safe to switch off from the support races… along comes James Jakes.
The 21-year-old Yorkshireman is due to drive for the Super Nova team in this season’s GP2 Asia series, where he is set to partner GP2 series graduate Javier Villa.
GP2 Asia kicks off at the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend and, according to series organisers, 26 competitors are getting ready for three days of action as the series visits the country for the first time.
Jakes hails from F3 Euroseries, where he has spent two seasons, including one as an ART Grand Prix driver. He has won races at the French circuits Pau and Magny-Cours.
Previously he raced in Formula Renault, and in British F3, as well as being named a BRDC Rising Star and being nominated for the McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year award. In 2006 he finished sixth in the Macau Grand Prix.
According to his website, “This weekend James Jakes is taking a break from the Euroseries and stepping up to race in the GP2 Asia Series. He is hoping a series of good results can lead to him securing a seat in next year’s GP2 Championships.”
This is just the second GP2 Asia season and last year saw races held in Asia and the Middle East. ART’s Romain Grosjean took the inaugural title after five rounds, including support races at two Formula One events.
It has expanded its presence for 2009 and we should see cars on the track at Malaysia and Bahrain during this year’s six-race series.
Many of the names will be familiar to followers of the existing GP2 series with Kamui Kobayashi tipped as a title contender and Vitaly Petrov, JÃ©rÃ´me d’Ambrosio, Davide Valsecchi, Roldan Rodriguez, Sakon Yamamoto all giving him a run for his money.
The grid includes nine Asian and Middle East drivers, including former F1 driver Alex Yoong at the wheel of Malaysian team My Team Qi-Meritus.Mahara. Twelve rookies, including Jakes, take part in the second season debut.