The opening pre-season test of the new GP3 Series season gets underway at the Circuito Estoril on Thursday (18 March) as the field gets its first two days of preparation ahead of the opening round in May.
As ever with a new season, the season welcome rookies into the fold, along with a blend of more experienced drivers, all with a common goal.
Reigning teams' champion Carlin has a brand new line-up, starting with Ferrari Academy driver Antonio Fuoco, who finished fifth in the European F3 Championship in 2014. Australian Mitch Gilbert, who raced in four GP3 events last season, has also signed with the British squad, whilst GP3 race winner Jann Mardenborough will test in Portugal this week.
Mardenborough is one of four British drivers listed to take part, and one of three hailing from Wales as former Formula Renault NEC champion Matt Parry makes the step up with Koiranen GP and Seb Morris joins Status Grand Prix. Emil Bernstorff completes the UK contingent so far committed.
Indeed, Morris is one of three new faces at Status , with the experienced Alex Fontana also joining the green-and-black squad, alongside Thai debutant Sandy Stuvik, who moves over from Euro Formula Open to complete the team.
Parry is joined in the Koiranen line-up by multiple GP3 race winner Jimmy Eriksson, who has stayed with Finnish outfit, and Adderly Fong, who transfers from Jenzer Motorsport.
ART Grand Prix retains German Marvin Kirchhöfer, who finished an impressive third overall in his debut season in the category. He will be joined by Alfonso Celis Jr and highly rated rookie Esteban Ocon, the French star having won the European F3 Championship last year, as well as enjoying an outing as a Lotus F1 Team test driver.
Veteran Kevin Ceccon has switched to Arden International, alongside 2014 race winner Bernstorff and Polish rookie Aleksander Bosak, who moves up FRenault ALPS.
Despite losing Fong, Jenzer has retained two of its 2014 drivers, with Matheo Tuscher and Pal Varhaug returning, alongside Swiss rookie Ralph Boschung, who graduates from ADAC Formula Masters. The Jenzer cars will also have an exciting new livery to be debuted at Estoril…
Newcomers to the GP3 field, Campos Racing will be looking to build on its success in GP2, and have so far signed two drivers, in Spaniard Alex Palou, who previously raced in Euro Formula Open, and Kuwaiti Zaid Ashkanani, who moves over from the Porsche GT3 Cup in the Middle East.
Italian Luca Ghiotto has remained with Trident after an impressive winter test, and is joined by two rookies in Artur Janosz from Poland and Colombia's Oscar Tunjo, who switches back from the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
In all, there will be only eight teams competing this season.
“In spite of the numerous requests from teams to join the GP3 field, and from drivers who wish to race in our series, we were unable to give a new entry for this season in order to replace Marussia Manor Racing as their cars remain in administration,” series CEO Bruno Michel commented, “I could not ask for a new team to buy three brand new GP3/13 cars when we will introduce a new machine next year and, therefore, there will only be eight teams competing in the 2015 season. However, we will of course give an entry to nine squads for the next three-year cycle,which will start in 2016 in order to meet the demand of both teams and drivers.
“Looking at this season's line up, I am very impressed by its level. It is one of the strongest we have had in GP3 and I cannot wait to see who will come out on top.”
Entry list: Estoril GP3 test
1. Antonio Fuoco ITA Carlin
2. Jann Mardenborough GBR Carlin
3. Mitch Gilbert AUS Carlin
4. Alfonso Celis. Jr MEX ART Grand Prix
5. Marvin Kirchhöfer GER ART Grand Prix
6. Esteban Ocon FRA ART Grand Prix
7. Seb Morris GBR Status Grand Prix
8. Alex Fontana SUI Status Grand Prix
9. Sandy Stuvik THA Status Grand Prix
10. Adderly Fong HKG Koiranen GP
11. Jimmy Eriksson SWE Koiranen GP
12. Matthew Parry GBR Koiranen GP
14. Kevin Ceccon ITA Arden International
15. Emil Bernstorff GBR Arden International
16. Aleksander Bosak POL Arden International
20. Pal Varhaug NOR Jenzer Motorsport
21. Matheo Tuscher SUI Jenzer Motorsport
22. Ralph Boschung SUI Jenzer Motorsport
23. Zaid Ashkanani KUW Campos Racing
24. Alex Palou ESP Campos Racing
25. TBC TBC Campos Racing
26. Artur Janosz POL Trident
27. Luca Ghiotto ITA Trident
28. Oscar Tunjo COL Trident