It's only two weeks since Racing Engineering and Giorgio Pantano won the 2008 GP2 Series title, but the Spanish squad's focus is already on 2009.
The first of three group tests takes place at Paul Ricard this week [25-26 September] - with others to follow at Jerez de la Frontera and back at Ricard - and Racing Engineering has tabbed three drivers who have already been behind the wheel of one of its GP2 cars, albeit not of the latest generation.
Luiz Razia tested with the team in 2006, and is looking to the test as a springboard back into GP2. Despite being only 17 when he made his first appearance with Racing Engineering, the Brazilian has impressed, not only with his speed, but also his ability to quickly adapt to the powerful car. This season, he has been competing in the F3000 Euroseries and is currently third in the championship.
Christian Ebbesvik will test alongside the Razia on the first of the two test days at Ricard, the Norwegian having previously tested with Racing Engineering in 2007. He has been a regular frontrunner with Team West-Tec in the 2008 Spanish F3 Championship.
Finnish driver Markus Niemelä, currently a contender for overall and rookie honours in the US-based Atlantic Championship, will fly across the Atlantic, fresh from his first win in the series, to join the team on the final day of the test. Niemela has previously raced in GP2, and tested with Racing Engineering in 2007.
“I am happy to have those three drivers back in our car," team principal Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon commented, "Not only are they all good race drivers, but they are also great to work with.
"It will be interesting to see how they adapt to the new car and the progress they've made since we last tested with them. I am looking forward to these two test days as I know that all three are excited about this test and impatient to get into the car.”