Bridgestone Motorsport season preview

Bridgestone Motorsport's GP2 tyres are all set for their race debut at Imola next weekend (22-24 April) when the new GP2 Series kicks off with its first race of the season in San Marino. As official tyre supplier to several Formula One teams ...

Bridgestone Motorsport's GP2 tyres are all set for their race debut at Imola next weekend (22-24 April) when the new GP2 Series kicks off with its first race of the season in San Marino.

As official tyre supplier to several Formula One teams including World Champions Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Bridgestone welcomed the opportunity to become sole tyre supplier to the GP2 Series which is aiming to be the last stepping stone to F1, for teams and drivers alike. Running as a support race to the FIA Formula One World Championship, the GP2 Series offers 24 talented young race drivers and their teams the opportunity to demonstrate their potential not only in front of the world's public but also in front of Formula One's most influential players.

Since the series' launch in July 2004, therefore, Bridgestone's engineers have been busy developing three dry weather specifications and an innovative wet weather specification of tyre suited to the 600bhp Renault powered cars. The drivers at recent tests at Paul Ricard in France and the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain have been setting extremely close and competitive times, suggesting that the young hotshots are already getting to grips with the F1-style grooved tyres.

At least one week prior to each race, Bridgestone will nominate which of the dry tyre specifications ie. soft, medium or hard, is best suited to the circuit characteristics and surface and all the drivers will receive identical tyres. Bridgestone's GP2 tyres will carry an FIA barcode and tyres will be randomly allocated by the FIA.

The dry weather specification nominated for the opening round in Imola next week is the "medium compound" specification.

Bridgestone's GP2 tyres are based closely on their Formula 1 counterparts and share common design philosophies and materials. They are also produced in the same production factory in Tokyo, Japan as their F1 "big brothers" before being sent to Bridgestone's F1 headquarters in Langley, UK. From the UK, the tyres will be sent across Europe by truck. Once at the circuit, a team of Bridgestone tyre engineers and fitters dedicated to GP2 will provide tyre services to each of the 12 GP2 Series teams.

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport, said: "The GP2 Series Media Launch last week at Paul Ricard and this week's test at Barcelona have given GP2 a sensational start to its inaugural year and we anticipate the first round in San Marino next weekend to be equally as thrilling."

The series has attracted some highly talented individuals of no fewer than 16 different nationalities and we are very much looking forward to seeing some nail-bitingly close action. There is after all, a Bridgestone Prize of US$100,000 to be won at the end of the year! GP2 has the potential to launch our stars of the future to a worldwide audience and with its great mixture of exciting drivers, new cars and both experienced and new teams, we hope everyone will enjoy and support this new series. Certainly we feel the Bridgestone ­ Renault ­ Dallara package to be extremely strong and we are all looking forward to assisting in the careers of these young drivers."

Kaz Hamamura, Bridgestone Japan Technical Manager, said: "After many months of hard work with the GP2 Series development team and drivers, we are extremely excited about seeing the cars in action next week for the first round of the 2005 GP2 Series. From a technical perspective this new challenge has enabled Bridgestone to fill the void in Europe between karting and Formula One and to play an important role in the development of young drivers. The specifications we have selected for the season are a result of our huge amount of experience in F1, Champ Cars and Formula Nippon and we have deliberately chosen these specifications to promote good, close racing between the drivers, enabling them to fine tune their race craft before potentially moving up to F1. All that remains now is to wish them the best of luck!"

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Series FIA F2
Drivers Hiroshi Yasukawa