2013 GP3 Series Preview
This weekend sees the fourth season of the GP3 series kick off at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. It is the first season to use the second generation car, with increased power to make the jump to GP2 a little easier. The series also hosts a round outside Europe for the first time, with a trip to Abu Dhabi ending the season in November.
Two new teams appear for the 2013 season, with Bamboo Engineering, a World Touring Car outfit, replacing the Atech CRS team, and Koiranen GP, a Formula Renault 2.0 team already, replacing the Ocean Racing Technology team. Last seasons series champion Mitch Evans has progressed onto GP2, as well as runner-up in the Championship Daniel Abt. Third placed Antonio Felix da Costa has also left the series to compete full time in Formula Renault 3.5, leaving fourth placed Aaro Vainio the highest placed series returnee, joining Koiranen GP in their debut year.
ART Grand Prix have dropped the Lotus name for 2013 that they held last year, and have taken Motor Sports busy man Conor Daly, who is also running in the Indycar Indianapolis 500 event in May. Alongside the popular American is British Formula 3 champion Jack Harvey, and Argentine Facu Regalia, who raced in Auto GP & a handful of GP3 races in 2012.
The MW Arden team have taken on two Red Bull sponsored drivers for 2013 in Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr and Russian driver Daniil Kvyat. Sainz Jr is the son of Rallying legend Carlos Sainz, and progresses from British Formula 3, whilst Kvyat moves over from Formula Renault 2.0. The third member of this outfit is young Romanian Robert Visiou, who moves over from Jenzer Motorsport for his second season in GP3. Visiou achieved one podium finish in 2012 and will be hoping for more trips to the podium this time around, and should be challenging for wins over the year. Whether his decision to also compete in the Auto GP championship is wise shall be seen over the coming months.
The British Carlin team have taken Formula Renault 3.5 race winner Nick Yelloly on for the 2013 season, alongside British Formula 3 race winner Eric Lichtenstein & Angolan racer Luis Sa Silva. Sa Silva moves on from an average 2012 season in the Formula 3 Euro Series, whilst Lichtenstein finished third in the final standings in British F3 last year. Yelloly should be fighting near or at the front this year, providing he keeps his confidence up. He is highly thought of within the paddocks, and could have had more time in FR3.5 had he not already decided on GP3.
Jenzer Motorsport perhaps have one of the championship favourites driving for them in 2013 in Patric Niederhauser, the Swiss driver having won twice in 2013 and impressed on many other occasions. Joining Niederhauser in the team are Venezuelan lady Samin Gomez, who moves from Formula Abarth, and Formula 2 refugee Alex Fontana, another Swiss driver. Gomez & Fontana will need to be on the top of their games to stay with Niederhauser.
Another title favourite may be Cypriot driver Tio Ellinas, who returns for a second season at the Marussia Manor Racing team, having won the 2012 season finale at Monza. He is joined at the team by two Brits in Ryan Cullen and Dino Zamparelli. Cullen is a relatively new driver, having only raced one full season before this one. Zamparelli however is another refugee from the now defunct Formula 2 championship, and should be challenging for big points finishes, podiums and perhaps the odd race win.
Irish outfit Status Grand Prix have secured the services of Swedish driver Jimmy Eriksson, Chinese driver Adderly Fong, and British driver Josh Webster. Eriksson moves to GP3 on the back of a winning season in the German Formula 3 championship. Fong has had a disrupted last couple of years without securing a full time drive, racing here and there when he could. Webster moves on from the Formula Renault BARC Championship, where he finished runner up in the final standings.
Series debutants Bamboo Engineering have hired highly-rated British driver Lewis Williamson, another Brit in Melville McKee, and Spanish lady Carmen Jorda. Williamson used to be a member of the Red Bull family before being unfairly dismissed from their Formula Renault 3.5 outfit for apparently underperforming. Everyone on the outside could see his potential, and should be fighting near the front in 2013. McKee moves from Formula Renault 2.0, while Jorda returns to the series for a second season, hoping to improve on her results from last year which were, well, plain dreadful. Some say that shes only there because she has the money, its up to her to prove otherwise.
Italian team Trident continue their trend of seamingly only hiring home-grown drivers, which can’t be seen as a bad thing baring in mind the state of Italian motorsports right now, especially with their not being an Italian in F1 at present. This year they have taken on Giovanni Venturini & David Fumanelli, both Italians, and San Marino driver Emanuele Zonzini. Venturini & Fumanelli are both in their second season in GP3 and should be challenging at the sharp end of the field, while Zonzini moves on from Formula Abarth, and will be hoping for a steady first year.
The final team is Koiranen GP, the other series debutants alongside Bamboo. As previously mentioned they have signed Aaro Vainio as their lead driver, and the Finn should be challenging for the title. Another Finnish driver in Patrick Kujula moves from Formula Renault 2.0 to partner Vainio, while the team is filled by Estonian Kevin Korjus, who moves from Formula Renault 3.5. It’ll be interesting to see how Korjus adjusts to GP3, and whether he can reclaim his form after a disappointing 2012, as everyone knows he is talented behind the wheel.
It’ll be intriguing to see who’ll be the stand out drivers of 2013 in this line-up of drivers, with many of the entrants highly rated and previous race winners. Whatever happens, GP3 always is one of the highlights of a race weekend, and if you have never seen them race before, I almost guarentee that you won’t be disappointed. Let the racing commence!
2013 GP3 Series Entry List
ART Grand Prix
1 – Conor Daly – United States
2 – Facu Regalia – Argentina
3 – Jack Harvey – Great Britain
4 – Carlos Sainz Jr – Spain
5 – Robert Visoiu – Romania
6 – Daniil Kvyat – Russia
7 – Luis Sa Silva – Angola
8 – Nick Yelloly – Great Britain
9 – Eric Lichtenstein – Argentina
10 – Samin Gomez – Venezuela
11 – Patric Niederhauser – Switzerland
12 – Alex Fontana – Switzerland
Marussia Manor Racing
14 – Tio Ellinas – Cyprus
15 – Ryan Cullen – Great Britain
16 – Dino Zamparelli – Great Britain
Status Grand Prix
17 – Jimmy Eriksson – Sweden
18 – Adderley Fong – China
19 – Josh Webster – Great Britain
20 – Lewis Williamson – Great Britain
21 – Melville McKee – Great Britain
22 – Carmen Jorda – Spain
23 – Giovanni Venturini – Italy
24 – David Fumanelli – Italy
25 – Emanuele Zonzini – San Marino
26 – Patrick Kujala – Finland
27 – Aaro Vainio – Finland
28 – Kevin Korjus – Estonia
2013 GP3 Series Race Schedule
Rounds 1+2: Circuit de Catalunya – 11th/12th May; Rounds 3+4: Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia – 15th/16th June; Rounds 5+6: Silverstone – 29th/30th June; Rounds 7 & 8: Nurburgring – 06th/07th July; Rounds 9+10: Hungaroring – 27th/28th July; Rounds 11+12: Circuit de Spa Francorchamps – 24th/25th August; Rounds 13+14: Autodromo Nazionale Monza – 07th/08th September; Rounds 15+16: Yas Marina Circuit – 02nd/03rd November.
Tagged: Aaro Vainio, Adderley Fong, Alex Fontana, ART Grand Prix, Bamboo Engineering, Carlin, Carlos Sainz Jr, Carmen Jorda, Conor Daly, Daniil Kvyat, David Fumanelli, Dino Zamparelli, Emanuele Zonzini, Eric Lichtenstein; Samin Gomez, Facu Regalia, Giovanni Venturini, GP3, Jack Harvey, Jenzer Motorsport, Jimmy Eriksson, Josh Webster, Kevin Korjus, Koiranen GP, Lewis Williamson, Luis Sa Silva, Marussia Manor Racing, Melville McKee, Mitch Evans, MW Arden, Nick Yelloly, Patric Niederhauser, Patrick Kujala, Robert Visoiu, Ryan Cullen, Status Grand Prix, Tio Ellinas, Trident