GP3 Series

GP3 Season Gets Underway With Testing In Estoril

3 Mins read
Conor Daly - Photo Credit: Malcolm Griffiths/GP3 Media Service

The main news on the Estoril entry list is the presence of Conor Daly in the vacant seat at Lotus/ART - Photo Credit: Malcolm Griffiths/GP3 Media Service

Preparation ahead of the third season of the GP3 Series begins tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday with a two-day test at Estoril in Portugal. The test is the first of three prior to the start of the season proper at the Spanish Grand Prix in May, with tests lined up at Barcelona and Silverstone before then.

The drivers' and teams' champions ART (now renamed Lotus GP) will take to the track in their new black-and-gold livery. The two drivers they have already confirmed for the coming season – Daniel Abt and Aaro Vainio – will both be in action. F3 convert Abt will hope to resume his form from post-season testing with the French-based squad, when the German youngster was a regular pacesetter. Driving the third car is American Conor Daly, who previously tested for the team in Jerez after his rookie season with Carlin.

The MW Arden and Marussia Manor Racing teams are the only ones to have completed their driver lineups for the new season – and both bring their final trios to the test. At Arden, championship favourite Mitch Evans will be looking to get his preparation for his title attack off the best start, while both David Fumanelli and Matias Laine had impressive post-season testing form. At Marussia Manor, South American F3 champion Fabiano Machado will make his GP3 debut, highly-rated Cypriot rookie Tio Ellinas will look to continue his pace from post-season testing, while Russian teenager Dmitry Suranovich will be continuing his learning at this level.

Silverstone-based Status Grand Prix bring their only confirmed driver for 2012 – Marlon Stockinger. He is joined by Alexander Sims, who raced for Status last year but has now been forced to switch his focus to sportscars, and Finland's Miki Weckstrom – a Formula Renault racer who tested for Tech 1 last October.

Jenzer Motorsport will run their announced driver Robert Visoiu together with Italian Formula Abarth champion Patric Niederhauser (who was quick testing for the team at the end of last year) and Chinese Formula Abarth champion Matheo Tuscher.

New team Trident Racing, who have taken over Addax's entry, will field Vicky Piria who they announced as GP3's first female racer at the end of last week. Fellow Formula Abarth driver Antonio Spavone will also lineup for the team at Estoril, together with experienced GP3 racer Nico Muller.

Another team calling upon the services of a tried and tested GP3 driver is Carlin, who have brought in local driver Antonio Felix da Costa, who raced for them part-time in 2010. Alex Brundle will get his first taste of GP3 machinery ahead of his switch to the series with Carlin, while British F3 race winner William Buller completes their testing trio. Atech CRS have Hungarian GP3 race-winner Tamas Pal Kiss in alongside American rookie Ethan Ringel who will race for the team this year.

Tech 1 only have one driver confirmed for the test – in the form of 23-year-old Irishman Robert Cregan – the son of Yas Marina circuit chief Richard – who was racing in the V8 Supercar Development Series in Australia last year. Mucke Motorsport meanwhile are completely absent from the test.

Car No. Driver License Team Name
1 Daniel Abt GER Lotus GP
2 Conor Daly USA Lotus GP
3 Aaro Vainio FIN Lotus GP
4 Mitch Evans NZL MW Arden
5 David Fumanelli ITA MW Arden
6 Matias Laine FIN MW Arden
7 Dmitry Suranovich RUS Marussia Manor Racing
8 Fabiano Machado BRA Marussia Manor Racing
9 Tio Ellinas CYP Marussia Manor Racing
14 Marlon Stockinger PHI Status Grand Prix
15 Alexander Sims GBR Status Grand Prix
16 Miki Weckstrom FIN Status Grand Prix
17 Robert Cregan IRL Tech 1 Racing
18 TBA Tech 1 Racing
19 TBA Tech 1 Racing
20 Robert Visoiu ROM Jenzer Motorsport
21 Patric Niederhauser SUI Jenzer Motorsport
22 Matheo Tuscher SUI Jenzer Motorsport
23 Vicky Piria ITA Trident Racing
24 Antonio Spavone ITA Trident Racing
25 Nico Muller SUI Trident Racing
26 Alex Brundle GBR Carlin
27 Antonio Felix Da Costa POR Carlin
28 William Buller GBR Carlin
29 Tamas Pal Kiss HUN Atech CRS GP
30 TBA Atech CRS GP
31 Ethan Ringel USA Atech CRS GP


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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_
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