Round five of the Formula 1 season takes place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona this weekend, and at the same location the 2010 GP2 season kicks off.

Saturday and Sunday will also see the first two races of GP3, a new series which is intended to act as a feeder for GP2.

Thirty young and upcoming drivers will get the chance to hone their driving skills while getting some exposure to the F1 environment in a brand new championship where everybody uses the same chassis, engine and tyre suppliers.

Racing is expected to be close, yet in the official test in Barcelona three weeks ago ART’s Mexican driver Esteban Gutièrrez topped three out of four sessions. RSC Mucke Motorsport and Status Grand Prix also look to be progressing towards the front. Aussie team MW Arden were the surprise package, climbing gradually up the timesheets before grabbing the top spot in the final session of the day.

The final eight GP3 drivers have been confirmed since the final test: Lucas Foresti with Carlin; Oliver Oakes and Vittorio Ghirelli with Atech CRS GP; Felipe Guimaraes with Addax Team, Daniel Morad with Status Grand Prix; Adrian Quaife-Hobbs with Manor; Daniel Juncadella and Jean-Eric Vergne for Tech 1 Racing.

With thirty drivers out to make a name for themselves, and the threat of rain in Spain this weekend, the inaugural GP3 series race promises to be an exciting affair.

Race 1 is at 17:20 local time this Saturday, while Race 2 takes place at 09:25 on Sunday.