Tyre manufacturer Pirelli announced on Friday that they are to offer a special prize to the top two current GP3 field of drivers who compete in the just-announced GP2 Final special event in November and who manage to finish in the points in one or both of the feature and sprint races comprising the one-off race weekend.
“The 2011 GP2 Final is the perfect opportunity for young drivers and among them GP3 racers to have their first taste of a GP2 race weekend, and prove their worth in front of the F1 paddock and the rest of the GP2 field," said GP2 Series CEO Bruno Michel.
The GP3 graduate with the most points will receive 15,000 Euros whilst the second highest will receive 10,000 Euros. The hope is that the Pirelli prize will motivate teams to give opportunities to the next generation of drivers coming up from GP3 rather than rely on their existing GP2 stalwarts.
“One of our key priorities at Pirelli is giving opportunities to young and talented drivers," said Pirelli's Racing Manager Mario Isola. "We are delighted to be so closely involved in shaping the Formula One champions of the future. The Pirelli GP3 Award goes in this direction and aims to award those GP3 graduates who have distinguished themselves in many ways.
"Pirelli is strongly committed to closely working together with organisers and teams and keep backing drivers in these highly competitive championships, especially GP3 that, notwithstanding its short existence, has already proved to be a must to move further up in the ladder of motorsport."
"The fact that our official partner Pirelli offers prize money to the two best points finishing GP3 graduates will most definitely spice things up even more," agreed Michel. "It will be interesting to see who will be the next generation of young guns fighting in GP2 Series in 2012 or the coming years.”
All thirteen GP2 Series teams will take part in this unique race weekend event, which takes place two months after the end of the regular GP2 season at Monza in September, but manages to avoid the awkward "lame duck long wait" status that the final race in 2010 unfortunately ultimately fell into.
The 2011 GP2 Final was announced earlier in the week alongside news that the GP2 Europe and GP2 Asia series are to merge
in 2012. The GP2 Final is scheduled to be held at Yas Marina on November 12-13 as a support event to the penultimate F1 Grand Prix of the season at the same venue in Abu Dhabi.
In between the GP2 season finale on 12-13 September and the GP2 Final two months later, teams will have the opportunity to prepare cars and new driver recruits at two official two-day post-season test sessions. The first will take place at Jerez de la Frontera on September 28-29, and the second will be in Barcelona on October 19-20 before the GP2/11 cars are then freighted to Abu Dhabi.