The new GP3 feeder series has launched its new car at the Paul Ricard circuit in France with none other than Red Bull F1 driver Mark Webber behind the wheel.
Webber is involved in the series as a team owner after joining forces with Red Bull boss Christian Horner. He also runs the existing GP2 competitor Arden, and is working with Webber to bring the MW Arden squad to the GP3 grid. Webber hopes it will boost opportunities for Australians in motorsport.
After 19 laps in the new car, he told reporters: “I have been pleasantly surprised. It’s my first experience driving the car and I can honestly say it is like driving a small F1 car.
“A lot of the aspects are what I am already used to, but obviously on a smaller, more junior scale. For example the car has a full paddle shift gearbox and clutch system.
“The biggest advantage for this championship has to be racing at the Formula One race weekends. This will give drivers great exposure, and for sure all of the team bosses will be watching during race weekends.
“Overall I think it is a great car I am very impressed by the whole package, and I am looking forward to the first race next season.”
Speaking about his decision to make a move into management, he said: “Christian Horner was interested in taking part in the series and approached me. I’m not at the beginning of the F1 career so it was a logical step for me.”
The ten teams entered for the 2010 season, which include the UK’s Carlin, Hitech and Manor Motorsport, were also present for their first opportunity to find out more about the cars they will be racing.
They also had the opportunity for detailed discussions with the series’ technical partners Dallara, Hewland and Pirelli, and for a closer look at the turbo engine developed by Renault F1 Team in Viry-Chatillon.