Teams in the second-tier GP2 series have completed initial tests of the new 2008 spec car, which is already showing a marked improvement over last year's model. The feeder series founded in 2005 by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Renault chief Flavio Briatore runs identical Dallara chassis powered by 580hp 4-liter Renault V8s shared across the board by all 13 two-car teams.
The new Dallara GP2/08, which will remain in place over the next three seasons before replacement, was the only non-F1 car to pass the full 2007 FIA crash tests. Introduced over a two-day test session at the Paul Ricard circuit in France this past weekend, the 2008 model features a number of updates, primarily focused on aerodynamics. Although most of the 26 cars ran largely without problems, a few cars revealed extra strain on the front suspension and steering assembly as a result of the new aero package. Overall, the GP2/08 chassis ran lap times about 0.6 seconds faster than the outgoing model, expected to be reduced by a full second once the initial problems are ironed-out as the series closes in on its season opener on April 26-27 at the Catalunya circuit as a support race to the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix. The title winners from each of the past three seasons in GP2 – Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Timo Glock – have all since graduated to Formula One, and with all 13 teams confirmed to campaign again this year, the 2008 GP2 Series is shaping up once again as the place to watch for the next generation of F1 wunderkind.
[Source: Autosport, Photo: Drew Gibson/GP2 Series Media Service]