The opening GP2 Series pre-season test session of the year kicks off tomorrow at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. For three days, teams and drivers will work on the eleventh season of the category which will open on April 17-19 at Sakhir, Bahrain, alongside Formula One.
The new season of the category will see a new challenge as the GP2 cars now carry the DRS – with the same functionality as the one used in Formula One. It will be the first time that the thirteen teams will test it on their machines. The drivers will be able to use it as they please in the two designated DRS zones, both located in sector 2 at the exact same place as the ones used during the F1 Grand Prix held on this track.
This year, the paddock welcomes some new faces mixed with familiar ones. Reigning champions DAMS will count on two promising rookies to help them retain their crown: Red Bull Junior and FR 3.5L Vice Champion Pierre Gasly will be partnered with 2014 GP3 Champion and Williams F1 development driver Alex Lynn. Carlin have kept Julian Leal who pocketed two podium finishes for the British squad in 2014. The Colombian will be teamed up with GP2 race winner and Lotus F1 test driver Marco Sorensen.
Last season’s GP2 Vice Champion and McLaren F1 test driver Stoffel Vandoorne remains at ART Grand Prix together with newcomer and Japanese F3 Champion Nobuharu Matsushita. Racing Engineering have put their faith in GP2 returnee and race winner Alexander Rossi, and rookie Jordan King whilst RUSSIAN TIME have decided to keep the same line up as 2014 with GP2 race winner Mitch Evans and Artem Markelov.
Trident have bet on GP2 race winner Raffaele Marciello and Rene Binder to take them to the top of the standings this year. Also a race winner in GP2, Arthur Pic has decided to stay at Campos for a second season. He will be joined by GP2 podium finisher Rio Haryanto. Daniel De Jong also remains at MP Motorsport for the season. The Dutchman will be partnered with Vittorio Ghirelli for this test session. Two rookies form the Rapax duo as Sergey Sirotkin and GP3 graduate Robert Visoiu move to GP2.
Arden International put their trust in André Negrao for a second season. The young Brazilian will team-up with rookie Norman Nato. Newcomers Status Grand Prix have already confirmed debutant Marlon Stockinger for the season. The Filipino driver will be joined by another rookie, and GP3 race winner Richie Stanaway who will be testing for the Canadian squad at Yas Marina. Sergio Canamasas and Axcil Jefferies will be testing at Hilmer Motorsport this week. Finally, Lazarus will once again line up with Nathanaël Berthon. The Frenchman will be partnered with rookie Zoel Amberg this week.
Pirelli have selected two different compounds for these three days: Medium (Prime) and Super Soft (Option). Each driver will be supplied with five sets of Prime and two sets of Option.
The session will start tomorrow at 09:00 local time and will run until 12:00. After a two hour break, the proceedings will resume until 17:00.
Drivers’ Entry List
CAR DRIVER LICENSE TEAM
01 Pierre Gasly FRA DAMS
02 Alex Lynn GBR DAMS
03 Julian Leal COL Carlin
04 Marco Sorensen DEN Carlin
05 Stoffel Vandoorne BEL ART Grand Prix
06 Nobuharu Matsushita JAP ART Grand Prix
07 Jordan King GBR Racing Engineering
08 Alexander Rossi USA Racing Engineering
09 Mitch Evans NZL RUSSIAN TIME
10 Artem Markelov RUS RUSSIAN TIME
11 Raffaele Marciello ITA Trident
12 Rene Binder AUT Trident
14 Arthur Pic FRA Campos Racing
15 Rio Haryanto INA Campos Racing
16 Vittorio Ghirelli ITA MP Motorsport
17 Daniel De Jong NED MP Motorsport
18 Sergey Sirotkin RUS Rapax
19 Robert Visoiu ROU Rapax
20 André Negrao BRA Arden International
21 Norman Nato FRA Arden International
22 Marlon Stockinger PHI Status Grand Prix
23 Richie Stanaway NZL Status Grand Prix
24 Sergio Canamasas ESP Hilmer Motorsport
25 Axcil Jefferies ZIM Hilmer Motorsport
26 Nathanaël Berthon FRA Lazarus
27 Zoel Amberg SUI Lazarus