The newly formed Malaysian Qi-Meritus.Mahara confirmed that leading GP2 series talents Luca Filippi (Italy) and Hiroki Yoshimoto (Japan) will form the driver line-up for its debut GP2 Asia season. The new season will begin at the Dubai Autodrome...
The newly formed Malaysian Qi-Meritus.Mahara confirmed that leading GP2 series talents Luca Filippi (Italy) and Hiroki Yoshimoto (Japan) will form the driver line-up for its debut GP2 Asia season.
The new season will begin at the Dubai Autodrome with tests scheduled for 19-20 January and 22-23 January plus the inaugural 2008 GP2 Asia Series event occurring over the Arabic weekend (25-26 January) when the two drivers will be in action for the first time together with their new team.
Peter Thompson, President and team founder, Qi-Meritus.Mahara comments: "Meritus is the only truly Asian team in the all new GP2 Asia series. We have plenty of experience to draw on in this region having won 25 Asian motorsport titles since 1995. We have furthermore strengthened our engineering and appointed Gianfranco Bielli as our Team Principal and Technical Director. We have been looking forward to this moment since our GP2 Asia entry was confirmed by Bruno Michel, the GP2 Asia Series organizer, last September. The Malaysian based team is racing under a Saudi ASN license underlining the importance of our Saudi partners in this endeavor. We will run with race numbers 26 and 27 on our cars and I am proud that Qi, the sponsors of our Malaysian team in Formula BMW Asia and Formula V6 Asia, are supporting our strong line-up for our first season in GP2 Asia."
Thompson adds: "Luca Filippi, and Hiroki Yoshimoto will be at the wheel for the team's first season in GP2 Asia. Luca Filippi is the 2005 Italian Formula 3000 champion having raced two seasons in the GP2 series and tested for Honda Racing in Formula One before signing for the 2008 GP2 European season with team Art Grand Prix for GP2 Europe. We also have Hiroki Yoshimoto who has won for Meritus in Formula V6 Asia (FV6) last November and dominated in an impressive range of machinery including Formula Nippon, GT Japan, and GP2 European series. Under the direction of the Qi-Meritus.Mahara Team Principal Gianfranco Bielli, we will continue to work with the teams' Asian spirit to ensure we are well honed and ready for the first race in Dubai."
Raad S. Abduljawad, Team Chairman QuestNet Qi-Meritus.Mahara comments: "I know Peter Thompson from when I raced for Meritus twenty years ago in Formula Open Lotus; we renewed our relationship around the time of the first Bahrain Grand Prix on April 4, 2004. The Bahrain GP, the Dubai Autodrome, and now the new Abu Dhabi GP have created a greater awareness of Motorsport in the Middle East. The international events that these circuits have hosted have helped to develop local interest in the sport and Arab drivers are already competing in international events. With Qi-Meritus.Mahara we have now created a local team for drivers and fans to support. The proven format of GP2 encourages me to combine forces with Peter's Meritus brand. His experience and energy will no doubt make a great success of the Qi-Meritus.Mahara GP2 team."
From Luca Filippi: "Gianfranco Bielli convinced me to start the new season with such a strong team. He gave me plenty of confidence. I hope that my experience from GP2 in Europe will be valuable for the new team and will help us make quick progress. I'm looking forward to working with my team mate Hiroki again and the rest of the team engineers that Gianfranco has assembled. The plan is to have a very successful first season competing in GP2 Asia."
Hiroki Yoshimoto states: "I'm extremely excited about driving for the second time for Team Qi-Meritus.Mahara in the new GP2 Asia series. I've been working hard to be competitive and am looking forward to sharing my experience with the team. I'd like to thank Peter Thompson and Qi for giving me such a great opportunity. I am confident that together we can fight for wins in GP2 Asia."
Gianfranco Bielli, team principal comments: "Our two young drivers are ready for the inaugural GP2 Asia season. We have a great line-up and both drivers are very talented and experienced to work with. GP2 Asia won't be easy since the other teams have already worked for three seasons in Europe. We have a quality-line up of engineers to support a winning team plus the track data and knowledge from my A1 World Cup of Motorpsort experience at the Dubai Autodrome and Sentul track."
The 2008 Calendar begins in January with two tests (19-20 January and 22-23 January), at the Dubai Autodrome. The second of these tests will back onto the inaugural GP2 Asia Series race weekend for the first Grand Racing event (25-26 January).
The second race of the season will take place in the second full week of February (16-17) at the Sentul Circuit in Indonesia.
Then, there will be a one month break before the GP2 Asia Series links up with Formula One for the Grand Prix in Malaysia (20-23 March) and Bahrain (3-6 April). One week after Bahrain, the series will return to its base in Dubai for its season finale and the final Grand Racing event of 2008 (11-12 April).