Ocean Racing Technology is reporting a positive outcome to its first test session ahead of this season's GP2 Series, having joined the fray alongside series regulars at Paul Ricard.
The Portuguese outfit, which replaces the hapless BCN Competicion in this year's line-up, completed three days of running with new signings Karun Chandhok and Álvaro Parente in the latest spec Dallara-Renaults, which differ from the machines currently being operated by ORT in the GP2 Asia Series. Together, the two drivers worked intensely to gather as much data as possible to help the team get up to speed with rival who used the cars, albeit in 2008-spec, last season.
''These three days have been very intense - we barely slept as there is no time to waste when you are preparing for your first season in the GP2 main series,'' team manager Dave Ward commented, admitting that he had been impressed by the competitiveness and attitude of both drivers during the difficult task of finding the best set-up for tracks other than Ricard.
''We tried several solutions and gathered a lot of important data,'' he continued, ''We will keep working with might and main, but we have already had a glimpse of our competitiveness. The track version was different every day, so was the set-up of the car, but we are on the right track.''
Chandhok, moving into his third year in GP2, focused on improving the car and worked tirelessly at finding the best set-up and balance, guaranteeing that the differences will be obvious in the next test later this month.
''These three days allowed us to collect a lot of data and I know we will be more competitive in Barcelona,'' the Indian stressed, ''Nevertheless, the Paul Ricard test was already very good in helping the team get to grips. My aim is to be fast right at the start of the season and I am pretty sure this will be the case.''
Parente, who only signed with the team in the run-up to the Ricard outing, also had a positive outlook on its achievement in France.
''We developed the car the right way,'' he confirmed, ''The rear is fine by me, but I still have to change a bit at the front end as it is not as strong as I would like. However, I'm confident we will change this for the better in Barcelona, and that I'll be able to come closer to the perfect set-up.
''It was my first experience of working with Ocean Racing Technology and it's been really productive. The team gave me a warm welcome and I expect its involvement and its work to be fruitful in the near future. But one must not forget that it is a new team which is still in its building phase and which has yet to work to its full potential. The working base is good though, and I have total confidence in the team.''
The Ricard test also marked the debut of ORT's definitive new livery, which is mainly blue and replaces the all-red affair favoured by predecessor BCN.