RAIMONDO CONTINUES FORMULA THREE TESTING
Young Canadian open wheel racer Gianmarco Raimondo heads back to Europe for busy series of testing sessions
St. Catharines, Ontario -- Gianmarco Raimondo, 2008 Formula BMW Americas Rookie Champion, continued his racing journey and 2010 preparations with a series of Formula 3 tests in Europe. Raimondo recently flew to Paris in early November and headed straight the famed Magny-Cours racing facility in Nevers, France where he continued to test and impress in the F3 cars. The circuit is located 15 km (10 miles) southwest of Nevers, on the banks of the River Loirs, halfway between Paris and Lyon. The picturesque landscape plays host to one of racing's most famous venues and the location for Raimondo's first test session.
First on the slate was a test with team Alan Racing. The Italian-based team is the only F3 Italia Series team that uses the Mygale chassis, the same manufacturer that built the Formula BMW FB02 car. All of the other F3 Italia teams use the Dallara built chassis. While the day was completed under wet and cloudy conditions, GMo had a very successful test day and was impressive in his first outing in the Mygale car. The Mygale factory is situated at Magny-Cours and 20 Mygale executives and representatives were present to watch the testing as they celebrated their 20th anniversary.
"Magny Cours was probably one of the best tracks I've ever been on, however it was a shame it rained the whole day," commented Raimondo. "You couldn't truly appreciate the quality of the track and the thrill of some of the highspeed sections. It was still a lot of fun and still very challenging, especially because I was in the Mygale. Being in a different chassis, I was really trying to distinguish the differences between the two, even though it was wet."
With barely a chance to dry off, GMo flew off to Italy where he tested in the Team Lucidi car on the 5th of November. On the docket were two separate days with the Lucidi squad beginning on November 5th at the Mugello circuit in Florence and then on November 12th at the Imola circuit in Bologna. In the first test GMo had a very successful outing, running the car through its paces in both the rain and in the dry. Raimondo worked with team engineers to make changes and work through a scheduled series of runs to best evaluate performance and speed. With testing completed Raimondo had a week off to travel through Italy before the test on the 12th staying in San Benedetto del Tronto near Pescara on the Adriatic coast.
Unfortunately following the Mugello test, GMo took sick with mononucleosis, yet he drove up the coast and headed for Imola to be with the team. While GMo didn't test, and was only able to watch for a bit, he was able to learn more about the F3 car and this exciting new racing experience. The Lucidi team were great hosts and appreciated the opportunity to work with the young Canadian driver.
"I thought the test in Mugello went very well because the team could really see how I drove in basically every condition. Since it rained in the morning then dried up for the afternoon, it made it a challenging day," smiled Raimondo upon his return. "It was even more challenging at the end because I've been fighting a virus and it was finally taking its toll on me. During my last new tire run I was only able to complete four hot laps, although it was enough to set some fast times and impress the team even more. A shame I couldn't keep going on the new tires nevertheless, I accomplished what I was there to do."
While Raimondo is glad to be home from an exhausting and stressful week of testing and traveling, he looks forward to heading back for more testing in the near future. First on the list of priorities is to regain the three kg of weight he lost and take some time to build back up to where he was physically.
Gianmarco Raimondo completed two seasons as a Formula BMW Americas Junior Driver, winning the coveted Junior Scholarship in 2007 and taking the 2008 Formula BMW Americas Rookie Championship. GMo was born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada and is building a strong on track racing resume along with off track appearances and special event programs.