Since the demise of the old Formula 2 championship back in 1985, aspiring F1 drivers have been lacking a clear path up to the big leagues. Several feeder series have popped up – including such novel approaches as A1GP and the Superleague Formula – but the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One management have been working to create two parallel frameworks. Max Mosley gave birth to a new Formula 2 series, run by Jonathan Palmer, last year. Now Ecclestone and GP2 organizer Bruno Michel have started a new championship to slot in under the existing GP2 Series.
Called, predictably enough, the GP3 Series, the championship runs chassis built by Italian racing garage Dallara with 280 horsepower engines supplied by Renault. Hewland supplies the six-speed sequential gearbox, Pirelli chips in with the slick tires and Brembo provides the brakes. The series offers a cost-effective formula for budding racers, with budgets amounting to about €600,000 (about $880k USD) per year.
Now the series organizers have announced that ten teams have signed on for the innaugural season, whose races are scheduled to coincide with GP2's stand-alone events and the European grands prix in the F1 calendar. Britain will be represented by Manor Racing, Hitech and Carlin Motorsport, France by Tech 1 Racing and reigning GP2 champions ART Grand Prix, Spain by the Addax Team, Germany by German Mücke Motorsport, Ireland by Status Grand Prix, Switzerland by Jenzer Motorsport and Australia by the Arden squad fielded by grand prix winner Mark Webber.
Follow the jump for more details in the press release and check out the high-res photos from the car's launch at the Algarve circuit in Portugal.
[Source: GP2 Series]
GP3 Series Teams revealed
GP3 Series is very pleased to announce the names of the ten teams that are now officially entered for seasons 2010, 2011 and 2012. Each team will line up three cars on the grid.
Great Britain will be represented by three teams namely Manor Racing, Hitech and Carlin Motorsport, whilst France will have GP2 Series 2009 Champions ART Grand Prix and Tech 1 Racing entering the championship. In the Series intended to be a stepping-stone into GP2, Spaniard Addax Team will also compete in GP3. Arden in association with Formula One driver Mark Webber will race with an Australian license. German Mücke Motorsport, Irish Status Grand Prix, and Swiss Jenzer Motorsport complete the high-profile entry list.
GP3 Organiser Bruno Michel said: "The entry selection process has been thought off very carefully and we have only selected teams that proved to be most successful in their categories. This was of course a very important step for GP3 and I am very pleased to welcome them. I sincerely believe that we enjoy a strong and extremely competitive line-up.
The philosophy behind GP3 Series is very similar to what we've been doing in GP2 for the past five years in terms of car performance, costs control, show, safety and training to access to the following category, but of course adjusted to the level of this new Series. Our goal is to reveal young drivers able to jump to the next step.
Together with these ten teams and our technical partners Dallara, Renault, Pirelli and Hewland, we will work hard to make the GP3 Series a success and I cannot wait for the inaugural season to start! "
Meanwhile, all summer long, the GP3 Series have been working hard on the development of the car. With a total of nine days of test in Mugello, Le Castellet and Barcelona, first with newly appointed Renault F1 driver Romain Grosjean and then GP2 Series 2009 runner-up Vitaly Petrov at the wheel, the focus remained on reliability and performance. An additional four days will complete the development programme.
The production process will start shortly with three cars delivered to each team in the first weeks of 2010. The first official test session will take place in March 2010, followed by two other sessions before the opening race weekend at the first Formula One European Grand Prix in 2010. The rest of the calendar will follow the Formula One European events excluding Monaco and Istanbul; furthermore, the championship will follow GP2 Series stand alone race.
GP3 Series Teams' entry – in alphabetical order
Team Name License
Addax Team ESP
ART Grand Prix FRA
Carlin Motorsport GBR
Jenzer Motorsport SUI
Manor Racing GBR
Mücke Motorsport GER
MW Arden AUS
Status Grand Prix IRL
Tech 1 Racing FRA