The first pre-season test of 2018 gets underway in France
The GP3 Series returns to action at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France on the 21-22 February for the first of three pre-season tests ahead of the 2018 season opener at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on the 11-13 May.
On the back of winning the Teams’ Championship, ART Grand Prix will arrive at their home circuit with a new trio of drivers in their line-up alongside Anthoine Hubert. The FFSA-supported Frenchman was retained by his compatriot squad for a second season and will be looking to improve on a strong debut season last year. British driver Jake Dennis returns to the series with ART after a year out and is joined by countryman and rookie Callum Ilott, a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy. Sahara Force India development driver Nikita Mazepin makes his debut in GP3 to complete ART’s four-car team.
Trident returns to renew their challenge on champions ART for the 2018 season, handing a third season to Ferrari junior Giuliano Alesi who enjoyed a breakout 2017 in which he won three races. He is once again joined by American Ryan Tveter, returning for a deserved sophomore year following a solid rookie campaign. Alessio Lorandi joins the Italian team from Jenzer Motorsport, looking to build on an impressive 2017 season in the Series, while Pedro Piquet joins the squad in testing to complete the line-up.
Juan Manuel Correa, who joined Jenzer in the second half of 2017, will remain with the team for a full season and will be partnered by Tatiana Calderon. The Colombian driver has signed up with the Swiss outfit for her third season in the category. The team have also confirmed 17-year-old German David Beckmann today as the driver of the #11 car.
Arden International welcomes a pair of French drivers into its fold for 2018, handing rookie Gabriel Aubry a drive after impressing the team in post-season testing, while Julien Falchero joins the British squad having driven for Campos Racing last year. Arden’s third driver will be announced on Wednesday morning at 8am, prior to the beginning of the test.
Campos will arrive with former Arden driver Leonardo Pulcini, who signed for the Spanish outfit to remain in GP3 for a second season. Joining him is new recruit Simo Laaksonen, and the Finnish rookie will hope to develop his understanding of the GP3/16 car having fared well in last year’s post-season test. Newcomer Diego Menchaca completes the team’s line-up.
The GP3 Series also welcomes a new team to the ranks for 2018. Dutch outfit MP Motorsport joins the fray with a pair of experienced drivers in tow, having signed 2017 race-winners Dorian Boccolacci and Niko Kari, and will be looking to make an immediate impact on the Series. Leonard Hoogenboom joins them for the opening test, seeking to impress his MP compatriots enough for a full-time drive.
The sessions at Le Castellet will begin at 09:00 and break at 12:00, and on Wednesday will resume at 14:00 until 17:00. On Thursday, afternoon running will start at 13:00 and end at 16:00. Teams will conduct their running on the medium compound of Pirelli PZero tyres throughout the test, having been allocated six sets per car.
GP3 Series – Le Castellet Test Session: Drivers’ Entry List
ART Grand Prix
Callum Ilott
Anthoine Hubert
Nikita Mazepin
Jake Hughes
Pedro Piquet
Giuliano Alesi
Ryan Tveter
Alessio Lorandi
Jenzer Motorsport
Tatiana Calderon
Juan Manuel Correa
David Beckmann
Arden International
Gabriel Aubry
Julien Falchero
Campos Racing
Leonardo Pulcini
Simo Laaksonen
Diego Menchaca
MP Motorsport
Dorian Boccolacci
Leonard Hoogenboom
Niko Kari