GP3 SeriesOpen Wheel

2011 GP3 Series Season Preview

3 Mins read

The second season of the GP3 Series gets underway at Istanbul Park in Turkey this weekend. After the success of the inaugural season, a bunch of top young drivers have joined the grid, joining some second-year drivers hungry to follow in the footsteps of 2010 champion Esteban Gutierrez.

Here, The Checkered Flag guides you through the runners and riders.

Lotus ART
1. Pedro Nunes (Brazilian, 22)
2. Valtteri Bottas (Finnish, 21)
3. James Calado (British, 21)

Bottas was supposed to win the F3 Euro Series with ART last year, but failed. The team have moved him into GP3, where he begins as one of the favourites despite his rookie status. Calado will fight for wins after being runner-up in British F3 last year. Nunes retains his seat despite being off the pace last year, but has shown improved speed in testing.

Status Grand Prix
4. Alexander Sims (British, 23)
5. Antonio Felix da Costa (Portuguese, 19)
6. Ivan Lukashevich (Russian, 19)

Like Bottas, Sims had a disappointing 2010 with ART in Euro F3, but has been amongst the pacesetters in pre-season testing. Also switching from Euro F3 is Felix da Costa, who joins Sims as one of the championship favourites. Marussia-backed Lukashevich remains with Status despite failing to score in 2010.

Jenzer Motorsport
7. Nico Muller (Swiss, 19)
8. Maxim Zimin (Russian, 17)
9. Vittorio Ghirelli (Italian, 16)

Muller was the surprise package of 2010, finishing third after graduating from Swiss Formula Renault. He remains with Jenzer for a title tilt. Zimin joins GP3 after finishing fifth in both Formula Abarth and Swiss Formula Renault last year. Ghirelli stepped straight from karts to GP3 in 2010, and will hope to improve upon no points from last year after move from Atech.

Marussia Manor Racing
10. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (British, 20)
11. Rio Haryanto (Indonesian, 18)
12. Matias Laine (Finnish, 21)

Haryanto had a great 2010, finishing fifth overall and earning an F1 test with Virgin. Despite this, his pre-season pace does not mark him out as a title contender. Quaife-Hobbs also remains with the team and has been quick in testing. Laine joins from Euro F3 – but his previous record does not mark him out as one to watch.

14. Conor Daly (American, 19)
15. Tom Dillmann (French, 22)
16. Leonardo Cordeiro (Brazil, 21)

Daly joins as the reigning Star Mazda champion, and will needs to learn the European tracks before he can consider challenging at the front. Dillmann switches to GP3 after four years in Formula 3 that saw him take the German title in 2010. Cordeiro jumps from Arden after scoring just one point there last year.

Tech 1 Racing
17. Aaro Vainio (Finnish, 17)
18. Andrea Caldarelli (Italian, 21)
19. Tamas Pal Kiss (Hungarian, 19)

Former karting superstar Vainio moves up to GP3 with the team he raced for in Eurocup Formula Renault last year. Caldarelli raced in GP2 Asia earlier in the year, but he has made the switch to GP3 without much testing. Kiss joins after two seasons in Formula Renault UK, where he finished third in 2010.

Atech CRS GP
20. Marlon Stockinger (Filipino, 20)
21. Nick Yelloly (British, 20)
22. Zoel Amberg (Swiss, 18)

Stockinger and Yelloly step up to GP3 after two years racing for Atech (formerly Hitech Junior) in Formula Renault UK, but they only finished seventh and eighth respectively in last year's standings. Amberg is the reigning champion of the Swiss-based Formula Renault series, and will hope to be as successful as his predecessor Muller was in his rookie GP3 year.

Addax Team
23. Dominic Storey (New Zealander, 21)
24. Gabriel Chaves (Colombian, 17)
25. Dean Smith (British, 23)

After a handful of races in Europe, Storey appeared at the FR3.5 season opener at Motorland after a year out, before switching to GP3. He will struggle initially without any testing. Chaves, who moves from Italian F3, was a pacesetter in testing at Silverstone. Smith secured a late deal to move from Carlin (who took him to seventh in 2010), but sat out the whole of pre-season testing.

MW Arden
26. Mitch Evans (New Zealander, 16)
27. Simon Trummer (Swiss, 21)
28. Lewis Williamson (British, 21)

Evans has been a revelation down under, and now moves to Europe under the tutorledge of Mark Webber. Trummer was unspectacular for Jenzer last year but has shown good testing pace with Arden. McLaren Autosport BRDC award winner and FRenault graduate Williamson topped the timesheets at his first GP3 test in the autumn.

RSC Mucke Motorsport
29. Luciano Bacheta (British, 21)
30. Michael Christensen (Danish, 20)
31. Nigel Melker (Dutch, 20)

Bacheta secured a late deal to join the team after finishing runner-up in Eurocup Formula Renault last year. Christensen had a pointless year with Arden last year, but has showed good pace in testing with the team he raced with in Formula BMW. Melker secured the first and second ever GP3 poles in 2010, but only scored one points finish later in the year.

1882 posts

About author
Peter joined the TCF team in September 2010 and covers GP2 and GP3 along with WTCC and Formula Two. You can find him on twitter at @PeteAllen_
Related posts
Formula 2Open Wheel

Schumacher and Zhou score wins at the Sochi round of the FIA Formula 2 championship

4 Mins read
Mick Schumacher and Guanyu Zhou took home a win a piece in the Sochi round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship.
IndyCarOpen Wheel

Pagenaud: "It was a tough, dramatic weekend, but we prevailed"

3 Mins read
After the intimidating task of starting last in both Iowa IndyCar 250s, Simon Pagenaud and his team finished brilliantly with a win and a fourth place finish.
Formula 1Open Wheel

Sauber Motorsport Unveil New Academy Program

1 Mins read
Sauber Motorsport AG have announced a new academy program as well as it’s first four inductees, including the son of a two-time Formula 1 world champion.

Leave a Reply