The boss of one of Britain’s most successful junior formula motorsports teams has given the new GP3 series the thumbs-up after its first two days of testing at the Paul Ricard circuit in France.
Trevor Carlin, whose eponymous outfit regularly produces champions in British F3 with a good track record in forging F1 links, was impressed with the car and encouraged by its performance in testing.
He said: “It’s been a really encouraging first step for us in the GP3 Series. We’ve been very impressed with the car; GP3, Dallara and all technical partners have done a fantastic job.
“All the feedback from our drivers has been positive; the car is very well balanced with a lot of high speed grip and is very driveable.”
Carlin is one of 10 teams running in the new series, which is designed to provide an affordable route into GP2. Other British squads include Manor/Virgin and Atech, formerly the Hitech Racing junior team.
Also British-based but racing under the flags of their respective nations are the Australian MW Arden squad, running in association with Red Bull’s F1 pilot Mark Webber, and the Irish Status GP.
Top driver in the rankings over the two-day test was the American Alexander Rossi, driving for ART, who topped the unofficial timesheets in three of the four sessions. His ultimate fastest time was 1:20.013.
Frédéric Vasseur, ART team principal, said: “This has been a really positive first test session for us, but also for GP3 in general.
“Our cars have been consistently reliable throughout the two days, and we have covered a significant amount of kilometres, gathering invaluable data to move forward.
“After watching the cars on track these past two days I think it’s safe to say that we have a great season of racing ahead of us.”
Bruno Michel, GP3 series organiser, added: “Obviously, I can only be very pleased with how this first official test went: the reliability of the cars has been stellar with an impressive 13,300 kms covered in only two days.
“This could not have been achieved without the tremendous support of Dallara, Pirelli, Hewland and Oreca. We have definitely started on the right foot: teams and drivers alike have expressed their satisfaction with their first taste of GP3.
“On top of the exceptional reliability, the performance of the cars is also already very close to what we can expect during the season.
“It is nice to see that on the second day, at least ten drivers were closely fighting for the top spot. These young guns look set for an exciting season and we can expect to witness some great racing.”
The next official GP3 test will take place at Paul Ricard on March 31-April 1.