The 13 GP2 Series teams ran the brand new GP2/11 cars at Paul Ricard in France on Thursday (18 November). All of the teams got the chance to try out one of their cars, which will be raced at the first time in the 2011 Asia Series which gets underway in February.
Amongst those running were the two new teams to GP2: Carlin and Team AirAsia. Although no laptimes were released, Javier Villa was revealed to have set the fastest time, driving for Arden. The Spaniard was not the only driver to return to the category for the test. iSport ran Adam Carroll, while Karun Chandhok returned to the Ocean Racing Technology team he raced for in 2009 prior to racing in Formula 1 with Hispania.
GP3 Champion Esteban Gutierrez made his GP2 debut with ART, who ran in the green and gold colours of new partners Lotus for the first time. Michael Herck made his first appearance for his new team Scuderia Coloni, while Charles Pic drove for Barwa Addax, Fabio Leimer joined Rapax and Stefano Coletti was with Trident Racing. In action for their regular teams were Marcus Ericsson (Super Nova), Romain Grosjean (DAMS) and Dani Clos (Racing Engineering). Max Chilton worked with his old F3 team Carlin while Johnny Cecotto Jr drove for AirAsia.
A total of 145 laps were completed in the three hour morning session, before the teams completed 289 laps during the afternoon. The test also gave the team's the first chance to try out the Pirelli tyres.
GP2 Series Technical Director Didier Perrin said: “The objective of today was to make sure that all cars were all set to be shipped to the Middle-East for the first official test session which will take place in Abu Dhabi next February. The good surprise is that after one hour it felt like this was not a shakedown anymore but an almost normal and standard test session. Before lunchtime, teams were already starting to seek performance and engineers were looking at the screens to see who was going fastest.
“It is more than we expected for today. Everything went smoothly: last night, all engines had been fired up before midnight and this morning all cars took the track within the first hour of the day. We achieved a total of 434 laps. No technical issues have been found. It was amazing to see three cars fighting to be first on track this morning.”