While Ferrari was cleaning up at its home race at Monza this past weekend, the GP2 feeder series campaigned its penultimate race of the season. Venezuelan racer Pastor Maldonado, driving for Italian team Rapax, clinched the series title in its sixth season, but arguably even more intriguing was the concurrent launch of the new third-generation GP2 spec racer.
Like the car it replaces, the new GP2/11 is designed and built by Italian racing chassis manufacturer Dallara – also behind the cars used in IndyCar and Formula 3 as well as F1 newcomer HRT's car, to name just a few – and will be used exclusively by all teams for the next three seasons. Major changes to the design close the gap to Formula One considerably and borrow from its latest developments, employing a larger diffuser, a narrower rear wing and a larger one up front, a raked front nose and anvil-shaped engine cover. Also like F1, the new GP2 car will switch from Bridgestone rubber to new Pirelli compounds.
Development has been underway for several months, and the new car – unveiled to the teams and press at Monza – will see its first race early next year in the season-bridging GP2 Asia Series. Considering that no fewer than fifteen drivers – Lewis Hamilton among them – have graduated from the series up to F1, GP2 has rapidly developed as the place to watch for the next generation of top talent at the pinnacle of open-wheel racing. So keep an eye on newly-crowned champion Paston Maldonado, and check out the new car in the high-res image gallery below.