Third generation car shows strong reliability in Magny-Cours
It was another fruitful day for the shakedown of the third generation car at Magny-Cours in France. The GP3/16 was once again run on track with all seven teams using just one car only. The purpose of this was for the squads to learn how to operate the brand new machine and to test its reliability.
It was another wet start to proceedings with Matevos Isaakyan (Koiranen GP) first to venture onto the track. After 30 minutes all teams had done at least one installation lap, with the focus then on longer runs. The rain started to fall again in the latter part of the morning session in which ART Grand Prix’s Charles Leclerc topped the timesheet. It was a studious morning with no major issues and 259 laps completed.
Following the one hour break for lunch, the sun made a welcome appearance albeit briefly, but the track conditions stayed unchanged. The wind increased during the session, and the drivers remained on the wet Pirelli tyre since the track was still damp. Trident’s Antonio Fuoco headed the timings at the end of the day.
Jenzer Motorsport completed the most laps on Day one with 68, whilst Campos Racing completed the highest number of laps on Day two with 97.
A total of 502 laps were run on Day 2 and over the two-day shakedown a total of 825 laps were completed.
The 2016 GP3 Series will officially start with the first official pre-season test to be held at Estoril in Portugal on March 22-23-24.
GP3 Series Technical Director Didier Perrin commented:  “The shakedown has gone very well, even better than we even expected. We have been limited by the weather conditions; if the weather had been better we would have completed even more laps, however we are very pleased to get 825 laps completed over the two days. We experienced only a few issues and we know how to fix them prior to the first test in Estoril. The shakedown played its role with the teams confident in knowing how to operate the car.  Now they will be able to focus on the performance of the drivers at the test session later this month.”
Antonio Fuoco (Trident Racing) said: “This shakedown felt really good. It was not exactly the easiest conditions because it was raining all day today, but the car seems really good. The engine is more powerful than last year. I think we have to wait until Estoril to see how the car behaves in dry conditions, but at the moment, it looks really good.
“It’s hard to compare this year’s car to last season’s because we never got to drive in wet conditions in 2015, but in general you can feel a bit more downforce and a bit more grip. I’m really looking forward to the first official test. Hopefully we will meet dry conditions then, but during this shakedown, we did a really good job with the team. We had no issues with the car. Things look very positive.”
Pirelli’s Racing Manager Mario Isola said: “With a brand new car for GP3 for this year, we’ve developed new Pirelli tyres to specifically suit its performance characteristics. We arrived at the definitive tyre specification following a comprehensive testing campaign. The main change is a new construction front and rear, which is designed to complement the increased performance and downforce of the new car. We’ve also revisited the GP3 compounds in order to optimise them for the requirements of the 2016 car. Although it was mostly characterised by wet weather, the shakedown at Magny-Cours was a good opportunity for the drivers to have a taste of the latest GP3 machinery and the latest tyres that have been created specifically for it.”
Complete entry list
Charles Leclerc (AM)
ART Grand Prix
Alexander Albon (AM)
ART Grand Prix
Artur Janosz (AM)
Trident
Antonio Fuoco (PM)
Trident
Jake Dennis (AM)
Arden International
Jake Dennis (PM)
Arden International
Matevos Isaakyan (AM)
Koiranen GP
Mahaveer Raghunathan (PM)
Koiranen GP
Ralph Boschung (AM)
Jenzer Motorsport
Ralph Boschung (PM)
Jenzer Motorsport
Konstantin Tereshchenko (AM)
Campos Racing
Alex Palou (PM)
Campos Racing
Kevin Jorg (AM)
DAMS
Santino Ferrucci (PM)
DAMS