Jolyon Palmer will take part on all four days of the GP2 Series tests in Abu Dhabi on 23/24 and 27/28 November, driving for three of the most successful teams in the series.
The 19-year-old will drive for iSport International on Tuesday and Wednesday, before working with Addax on Saturday and ART on Sunday. The tests will use the outgoing GP2/08 car rather than next year's GP2/11 chassis, which teams tested in a shakedown on Thursday 18 November. Having finished as runner-up in the 2010 FIA Formula Two Championship, Palmer is now aiming to step up to GP2 in 2011.
“After finishing second in F2 this season, GP2 is the logical next step,” he explained. “I would love to be racing there in 2011 and would hope I could do a good job. However GP2 is clearly hugely competitive and it is important for me to take advantage of every bit of test time prior to the start of the 2011 season to begin learning.
“We wanted to have the best possible opportunity for me to try and prove my potential and teams to evaluate my ability. I am delighted that leading GP2 teams iSport, Addax and ART have all been sufficiently impressed with my F2 performance to give me the opportunity to join them, which I really appreciate.”
Palmer is aware that driving the car at the Yas Marina circuit will be a challenge. “In some ways it’s hard to know what to expect,” he said. “It’s a new car, a new track and there will be many drivers with more experience than me, but I’m confident I can do a good job.
“Testing with three of the leading teams obviously adds a bit of pressure, but while it would be good to finish high up the order, it’s also important for me to be pleased with my own performance and understand my strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately I need to impress the teams and show them I have potential, and I’m confident I can do that.”
Palmer said that F2 had helped him to progress hugely as a driver as well as showcase his talents to the best in the business. “F2 has been brilliant this year,” he said. “I have learnt a huge amount and F2 has been great for my confidence because I know I genuinely outperformed all but one driver in a field of 20 identical cars.
“My main focus at Abu Dhabi is obviously doing the business out on circuit, but it’s also important to give good feedback and build relations within the teams. I want to be in GP2 next year and through this test programme I know I have the opportunity to prove I deserve it.”
Palmer will be joined at the tests by fellow-F2 graduate Armaan Ebrahim. The Indian will test for Arden and Coloni.