Never heard of GP3? It's one of a number of feeder series that give aspiring single-seat racing drivers a place to hone their skills and show their mettle. It's one step on the ladder down from GP2 (and organized by the same people), and slots in the pecking order somewhere in between Formula 4 and Formula 3 (or just below Formula Renault 3.5). The series runs support races at grands prix in Europe and western Asia. F1 drivers Valtteri Bottas (Williams) and Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull), and Esteban Gutiérrez (formerly of Sauber) are all past champions of the GP3 Series. Former GP3 drivers Jean-Eric Vergne, Carlos Sainz, Jr., and Roberto Merhi all made it into F1 as well.
The new chassis is built once again by Dallara and represents a clean-sheet redesign. The crash structures offer better safety than before, the aerodynamics have been redesigned to encourage passing, and the cockpit can now accommodate taller drivers as well. Four hundred horsepower comes from a new 3.4-liter V6, naturally aspirated and furnished by Mecachrome to replace the previous engines from Renault and AER. The GP3/16 has already undergone testing at Magny-Cours in France and Catalunya in Spain, and was revealed on Thursday at Monza in Italy. It'll be delivered to the teams early in 2016.
"I think it looks very aggressive," said reigning champion Alex Lynn, who was on hand for the reveal. "It's certainly a good thing if we can get the taller drivers lower into the car and accommodate them even better. GP3 is a great Series to progress to GP2 and beyond. It has produced drivers who have reached Formula 1 so it's clearly working." Lynn has since graduated to GP2 and testing in F1.