Following a promising shakedown at Paul Ricard on 21st July, the new GP2 car has returned to the scene of its first run on Monday, for a full five-day testing session. Renault F1 Team third driver, Franck Montagny, was once again behind the wheel.
So far, the four-day run saw Franck complete a comprehensive development programme. With no major problems to report, he was able to notch up a good number of laps which allowed the engineers to collate a vast amount of data. The aim of the session was to confirm on the track what the computers had simulated in the design office in terms of aerodynamics, cooling, engine, electronics, tyres and set-up. Whilst no times were recorded, the car has met all expectations. Franck will drive again tomorrow (August 6th). The next test session is scheduled for the 9-10th August.
Bruno Michel, GP2 series organiser: `Two weeks ago, our car looked good straight out of the box, but this week's session was the real first step of our development programme. We assessed every single aspect of the chassis-engine combination and we have felt very positive after each run we've made. In fact, we're already quicker than we thought we would be. Franck has been smiling all the time, which is probably a good sign ! We are in line with our schedule and we will be taking our first orders for the 2005 series in early October. GP2 is going to be a fantastic series.'
Franck Montagny, GP2 Development Driver: `This week's session was about understanding the car and working on basic set-up. The chassis reacted well to all the changes we've made and the balance has been consistently good: it is stable in quick corners and under braking. The traction is also OK. From a driving point of view, the aero efficiency is quite fun to experience, especially with the ground effect. It really sticks the car to the ground. The engine is very, very powerful, and its torque is quite amazing. Every single bhp is there, that's for sure! We will be ready for our first tyre evaluation testing session on Monday and Tuesday. After the last few days, I'm already looking forward to getting back in the car.'