After a series of fruitful test sessions and thousands of kilometres successfully completed in Mugello, Le Castellet and Barcelona, the technical definitions of the GP3 car are fixed and production has now commenced, it has been announced.
The first cars will thus be delivered to the ten GP3 teams on schedule in January 2010.
The car's reliability has been established throughout the programme, most notably in Le Castellet where the car completed 278 laps in two days, along with its performance, which is significantly ahead of that shown by an F3 car.
Given this, the main focus of the latest development test has been to define the tyre compounds together with Pirelli, running with GP2 Series 2009 runner-up Vitaly Petrov at the wheel.
The goal was to help the Italian manufacturer gather enough data in order to define compounds for the 2010 season, with one final development test sessions remaining to fine-tune the wet tyres.
“I've had a really great time at the wheel of the GP3 development car: it's fast and really fun to drive. Because of the impressive torque delivered by the turbo charged engine the driving style thus required is not so different from the one needed in GP2,” said Petrov following the latest test.
“This has been a great experience for me: developing the car and working closely with Pirelli on the definition of the tyres gives a global vision of the Series' future, and I am convinced that the GP3 Series is the best way to prepare for the next step: GP2.”
“We are right on schedule, not only with our development programme but also with the production process,” added technical director, Didier Perrin. “I am quite satisfied with the level of competitiveness of our car and with its overall behaviour on track: its driveability is very similar to a GP2 car, which was one of our main goals.
“The reliability of the development car is impressive – we completed over 500 km per day during the last test sessions - and helps us to work intensively with Pirelli, who now have all the data needed to define the soft and medium compounds for the 2010 season.
“The final two test sessions will allow us to complete even more kilometres to fine-tune the hard and wet compounds. The tyre characteristics are crucial to the success of any given single-seater category, and I am confident that Pirelli will provide the teams with tyres that will allow strong performance and deliver a great show.
“Soon the young drivers will have to showcase their skills both in speed and in managing the tyres, just like they will have to do later on in GP2 and F1. I cannot wait to see it all happen at the first race in Barcelona in 2010!”