A third of the teams accepted by the new GP2 series have received their first chassis, with the first four cars made available for collection direct from the Dallara factory in Italy.

Production of the first twelve cars began last October and, over the next three days, the remaining eight will be made available for collection so that each of the teams allocated a place on the inaugural entry list can at least start to get to know their machines. The first engines and gearboxes will follow from today [1 February], and the teams can expect to receive their second complete car in March.

"Today is an important day for the GP2 series," organiser Bruno Michel commented, "Before this point, only one GP2 car existed - by the end of the week, each one of our twelve teams will have their first chassis.

"I'd like to repeat my gratitude to our partners at Dallara, who have designed and manufactured a chassis which has not only met our original design brief, but which has passed every F1 FIA safety test. Thanks must also go to Mader Racing for their dedication and expertise in building the Renault-designed engines which will power the GP2 series and, of course, to our tyre supplier Bridgestone.

"The delivery of these first cars marks the start of a chain of events which will lead us to our first race in Imola on the weekend of 24 April. This truly is an exciting time for everyone involved with the series."

As each chassis is collected by its new owners, the development car will undertake its final two test sessions. The first will run until today and tomorrow [1-2 February], with RDD driver Lucas di Grassi at the wheel, while the second will take place between 9-11 February. Both outings will be at Paul Ricard. The teams are expected to start their pre-season testing later this month.

"For us, today marks the real beginning of the GP2 series, the dream is now a reality. " chassis builder Gianpaolo Dallara admitted, "For the first time, the GP2 car is no longer a prototype, but a real racing car.

"The development of this car from concept to design to production has been an immense challenge, but now we face the most important aspect of our role in the GP2 series - to ensure that we provide a high level of service and consistently improve our product over the lifetime of the championship. It will be a fantastic test, and I am confident that we will achieve the goals we have set ourselves."