The final unconfirmed race seat for the opening GP2 European race of 2011 has been announced as going to Luca Filippi. He will take up the Super Nova Racing #17 alongside previously confirmed driver Fairuz Fauzy.
Filippi had carried out testing duties with Super Nova at both two day tests in April, and was expected to get the nod for this weekend's race at Istanbul Park after consistently putting in faster times than Fauzy at Barcelona.
"We are pleased to welcome back Luca Filippi to Super nova and hopefully, after the testing, we can be competitive from the first race onwards," said team principal David Sears as he revealed that Filippi had signed a deal for the whole of the 2011 GP2 European main series.
"It's great to be on board with Super Nova for this GP2 season!" said an excited Filippi. "We had a great test in Barcelona where we showed in both days a good performance and we can now look forward to the Istanbul GP with a lot of faith."
Filippi has competed in races in every season of GP2 since 2006, beginning with FMS International and BCN Competición and appearing for ART and Arden in 2008. But three seasons have been with Super Nova Racing, and he finished fourth in the championship for them in 2007 and fifth in 2009. He was without a ride at the start of 2010, but returned to Super Nova mid-season to substitute for an injured Josef Král from the British round onwards.
"I thank Super Nova for the great job we made in the winter testing and to believe in me one more time," said Filippi.
The 25-year-old Italian has also competed in all four seasons of GP2 Asia since its inception in 2008, with his best season being in 2009/10 with MalaysiaQi-Meritus.com where he finished runner-up in the championship.
Both drivers are looking forward to the coming weekend, which sees GP2 once again serving in its traditional role as support race to the F1 Grand Prix event. Istanbul Park is considered one of the more challenging circuits on the GP2 calendar, with an unusual counter-clockwise layout and fourteen turns over 5.338km.
"I love the Turkish circuit and I'm sure we will come back home with a great result," enthused Filippi.
"I'm looking forward to driving in Istanbul again. The last time I was there was also with Super Nova," agreed Fauzy, who pointed out that the rain greeting the F1 and GP2 teams and drivers as they arrive in Turkey may prove to be a major factor in how things go. "I'm expecting it to be a wet weekend so anything can happen but I hope to score points in both races and come away with a good points tally."
"The whole team is looking forward to this weekend in Istanbul," said Sears. "We have worked hard to overcome the problems that Fairuz has encountered in testing and I am confident of a much stronger showing from him in Turkey."
The GP2 practice sessions will be held at 11.55am local time on Friday May 6, with qualifying at 3.55pm. The feature race will consist of 32 laps and start at 3.40pm on Saturday afternoon, with the 23 lap sprint race starting at 11.35am on Sunday.