After the excitement of the Valencia Street Circuit two weeks ago, this weekend the GP3 Series returns to racing action at historical Silverstone Circuit, the home of British motorsport.
This time last year the Formula One fraternity was preparing to say goodbye to one of the oldest circuits on the Grand Prix calendar - how things change. Now 2010 sees GP3 preparing to mark the half way point of its inaugural season with Round 4 at the Northamptonshire track.
This weekend also marks the home race for four GP3 drivers: Manor Racing's James Jakes and Adrian Quiafe-Hobbs, Carlin's Dean Smith and Atech CRS GP's Oliver Oakes. Plus GP3 has five British based teams: Status GP, Manor Racing, Carlin, MW Arden and Atech CRS GP, all of whom will be hoping to put impressive performances in front of their home crowd. Silverstone looks set to be a fight for home glory to try and stop Esteban Gutierrez and ART Grand Prix in their remarkable race to Series titles.
After undergoing extensive redevelopment Silverstone Circuit will provide a new challenge for all thirty young GP3 drivers. Talking about the upcoming weekend at the newly vamped circuit GP3's current top British driver James Jakes commented: "I'm looking forward to driving on the circuit. It will be new for everyone so it's going to be a level playing field.
"I think it will be a special weekend for British. It always brings lots of fans to the track and I'm sure we will give them a good show. It's always a special weekend when you race in your home country, but once you get your helmet on and you're on the grid it feels pretty much like any other track - just maybe with a few extra nerves."
At the Valencia Street Circuit two weeks ago the exciting new challenge of a street circuit meant there were a few incidents during the race weekend, but yet again fans were witness to some top driving displays from the young racers.
Series leader Gutierrez looked again untouchable from the moment he set down in Spain. Sure enough on Saturday morning the Mexican ended RSC Mucke driver Nigel Melker's run of two successive pole positions, and then cruised to victory in Race 1 around the 5.41 kilometre track. Race 2 saw a new driver inducted into the GP3 winners hall of fame when Nico Muller claimed his first, and Jenzer Motorsport's second victory of the season.
The ART racer has increased his lead in the driver standings. He has now amassed 35 points, and is sixteen points clear of second place man Status GP's Robert Wickens. After failing to score any points last time out ART's Alexander Rossi has slipped to third in the standings with 17 points. The French squad maintained its lead at the top of the team standings after Valencia with 53 points, but Manor Racing has crept ahead of Jenzer Motorsport with 28 points compared to 27 for the Swiss team.
Newly announced Formula One and GP2 Series tyre supplier Pirelli will debut the new hard- compound tyres this weekend. Drivers will use the new hard-compound PZero 13-inch tyre for the first time. Pirelli's Racing Manager Mario Isola explains:
"Working as always in close collaboration with the GP3 series organisers we identified Silverstone as the right place to debut our hard-compound GP3 tyres, and we are looking forward to seeing them out on the new Silverstone circuit. The demands placed on the tyres are very high there, but we are confident that we have a product that will cope very well with the challenge. Of course we are constantly evolving the tyre design, so if we see at the end of the weekend that there is not enough wear, we can certainly adjust the hard compound in future. But there are so many other factors at work at this famous circuit that it is hard to predict exactly what is going to happen over what is sure to be another extremely exciting weekend!"
We have one driver change of note in Silverstone. Daniel Juncadella will take over the #28 Tech 1 Racing car from Jean-Eric Vergne.
-source: gp3 series