GP2/08 Breaks Cover in France The GP2/08, the car which will form the racing foundation of the second generation of the GP2 Series from 2008-2010, has undergone testing for the first time at Circuit Paul Ricard HTTT in France. Powered by a 4l ...
GP2/08 Breaks Cover in France
The GP2/08, the car which will form the racing foundation of the second generation of the GP2 Series from 2008-2010, has undergone testing for the first time at Circuit Paul Ricard HTTT in France. Powered by a 4l Renault V8 engine and running on slick Bridgestone Potenza tyres, the all new Dallara-designed car ran for 60 laps without complication, under the steady hand of 2006 GP2 Series Vice-Champion and Renault F1 Team test driver, Nelson Piquet Jr.
The GP2/08 has been designed to ensure that the fantastic racing which has been the hallmark of the GP2 Series in its first tri-annual generation will continue into the future. Great care has also been made to ensure that the operation of the car remains a genuine challenge for the GP2 Series teams. A number of lessons have been learned in the first three years of the GP2 Series and the GP2/08 is the culmination of the combined experience of our Technical and Engineering heads, together with the advice and recommendations of Renault, Bridgestone, Dallara and Mecachrome.
The stunning GP2/08 is visibly different from its predecessor. The front end of the car features a new and aggressively low nose, single keel suspension and a beautifully sculpted and aerodynamically efficient front wing assembly. The tub itself pulls in far tighter under the legs of the driver, before flowing back into the completely re-designed sidepods, which are a consequence of a new radiator and cooling set-up. The barge-boards, too, are noticeably different: far larger and more sculpted and efficient than their previous incarnation.
The rear end of the car is completely new in concept and design. The contours of the engine cover fit the Mechachrome-built unit far tighter than ever before, and the rear of the sidepods combine both brand new chimneys and a new take on the beautiful shark gills which appeared briefly in 2006. The rear point of the engine cover pulls down to a markedly different and far neater exhaust assembly, and the rear wing is a brand new development of that seen in 2007.
Bruno Michel, GP2 Series Organiser:
I am incredibly proud to see the GP2/08 test for the first time. It is an aggressive and beautiful looking car, and is the perfect vehicle with which to take this series forward. Of course, today is just the start of the testing and development process for the next generation of the GP2 Series, but at this moment I must pay tribute to our partners Renault and Bridgestone, to the work and ideas of both Didier and Bernard in the conception of this new car, and to everyone at Dallara and Mecachrome for all of their input and hard work on this project. This car has been designed to keep the GP2 philosophy of racing intact, to maintain the show, training, cost efficiency and safety of the Series, whilst at the same time making a large step forward in technology.
As we look to the future, it is amazing to think of what the GP2 Series has achieved in such a short space of time. I am sure I speak for everyone when I say how excited I am to see the next generation of the series launched today, and I look forward to watching this car grow as it forms the basis of the next three years of competition.
Didier Perrin, GP2 Series Technical Director:
"I am delighted with the GP2/08. The work that Dallara has done in the design of the new car is of the highest standard and as can be seen from today's photographs, we are moving to the future not with a development of the old machine, but with a brand new racing car.
"One of the important things to remember is that the GP2/08 is not only a car for the 2008 season, but a car that has to last until the end of 2010. This was at the center of our thinking when we were working on the design with Dallara. We had to make sure that we were making a step forward in design that would still be relevant and up to date in 2010, and in line with F1.
"We had three main targets for the GP2/08. First we wanted to make sure that the GP2 Series remained as close as possible to Formula One, so that we would remain as the only viable final step for aspiring F1 drivers. Second, it was important that the teams, engineers and drivers were given a new, exciting and difficult challenge. And finally, we wanted to make sure that the costs were kept at a reasonable level.
"The car has been improved in every area. Most noticeable at first glance is the aerodynamics. We have taken the benefit of recent aerodynamic developments in Formula One and that is why the look of the GP2/08 is closer than ever before to Formula One. From the beginning of the design process we also decided to increase the proportion of the ground effect in the overall downforce of the car because, in our mind, it is one of the key factors in promoting overtaking and providing a good show.
"The GP2 Series has always placed safety as our highest priority and so as a very basic principle we wanted the GP2/08 to reach the latest F1 safety standards. For this reason the new car includes new anti intrusion panels and has been designed to meet the new front and rear F1 impact tests. As we are constantly looking ahead, the car has also been designed to incorporate the future on board GPS marshalling system.
"We have listened to the opinions and requests of the GP2 Series teams and their views on the operational aspects of the car. Together with Dallara, we have combined three years of learning to create the GP2/08. There are many, many improvements present in this car, and I am sure it will keep us all entertained over the next three years."
Bernard Dudot, GP2 Series Head of Engineering:
"As with the whole GP2/08 project, the engine and gearbox package has been designed around three key areas: An enhanced level of quality, an easier servicing at a lower cost and an ability to develop the performance during the next three years.
"The Renault engine in the GP2/08 is still designed, developed and maintained by Mecachrome. Mecachrome has made some fundamental changes to make sure we keep an efficient and very reliable race engine. For example, the 2008 version will be fitted with a completely new air intake, giving a new acoustic tuning for a significant improvement of the torque curve. The foundry of the main case is new, while the connecting rods, the pistons and the crankshaft have all been redesigned and inspired by what is made currently in Formula One. Some new fundamental changes will appear in 2009 and 2010 to make the GP2 Series engine a very modern, efficient and reliable race engine.
"The gearbox is also still designed and manufactured by Mecachrome. It has undergone some fundamental modifications however. Its housings have been completely redesigned to improve the torsion stiffness of the package and the whole unit has been made lighter. We have saved 5kg alone by machining the unit from solid, which permits us to use a better quality aluminium to optimise the wall thickness. The gears profit from a fabrication process which is a direct consequence of Mecachrome's continued Formula One experience, whilst always ensuring the costs are kept under control. The oil circulation has been improved to protect the gears and the internal mechanics. The hydraulic device has been redesigned to improve the overall packaging and to simplify the servicing and improve the efficiency of the gear shift. The carbon clutch which should be specified from 2008 will play a large role in this, due to its small inertia and weight.
"I am very happy with the work that Mecachrome has done on the new engine and gearbox. Together we have pooled the last three years of experience in the GP2 Series, along with our combined knowledge of Formula One technology and processes, to create what we are sure will be a strong and reliable engineering foundation for the GP2/08."
Gianpaolo Dallara, Dallara Automobili:
"The new GP2/08 is a car of which we are very proud. In style and function, it is a large step forward and we are confident that it will provide a great challenge to the future teams and drivers of the GP2 Series.
"The style of the GP2/08 is based around the aerodynamics of the most modern Formula One car. Aesthetically, it is a wonderful creation and our designers have done a magnificent job to create a totally new and aspirational car. But beneath the beautiful looks is the very important element of safety. This car has been designed to pass the 2008 Formula One crash tests, and includes many new parts which will serve to protect the driver in case of accident.
"From a purely technical point of view, this car has benefitted from important new aerodynamic developments in the wind tunnel which have been influenced by the latest steps forward in Formula One. We have also optimised the weight balance of the car and devised a brand new "quick change" nosecone to aid the teams. We have stretched ourselves with the design of the GP2 / 08, but there remains scope for technical improvements and developments over the 2008-2010 period in which the car will race.
"From a cost perspective we have aimed to optimize the teams' budgets by splitting the larger pieces of bodywork, to enable small rather than complete replacements in case of breakage.
"I am delighted to see the GP2 / 08 make its first steps on track. Dallara Automobili continues to be very proud of its association with the GP2 Series, and we look forward to seeing our latest creation take to the race tracks of the world in 2008."
Nelson Piquet Jr, GP2 Series Development Car Driver:
"The test saw us run a program to check the overall handling of the new car and to make sure the operating temperatures were all OK. At this early stage it's difficult to say much about the car because it is completely fresh from the factory, but I was very happy with the way it ran as we had no problems. From a first impression, the car has a lot of upgrades, particularly with the aero and the big cuts in the sidepod. Also there's the new floor and the gearbox.
"It already feels faster, especially in the high speed corners, and I'm pretty confident that on most circuits it will immediately be around a second faster than the current car. Also, the upgrades should make it very reliable, whilst also keeping the speed, which is important. I'm sure the more I get to drive the car, the better it will be. We've got another test planned a bit later in July so I'm looking forward to working with the team on setting up the car and really seeing what it can do."
-credit: gp2 series