Catalunya: Bridgestone preview

Bridgestone Motorsport Barcelona GP2 Series Preview The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series will start its exciting fourth season with an all-new car for the 13 teams and 26 drivers from around the world who will participate in the first round of...

Bridgestone Motorsport Barcelona GP2 Series Preview

The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series will start its exciting fourth season with an all-new car for the 13 teams and 26 drivers from around the world who will participate in the first round of the eleven round championship, as part of the Gran Premio de Espana Telefonica on April 25-27.

Bridgestone continues its involvement with the Series, which it has supported since its inauguration, and will bring the hardest compound GP2 Series slick tyre to the gruelling Circuit de Catalunya located 20km to the north east of Barcelona.

The new GP2 / 08 car will provide a challenge for all competitors as they will have to work hard to find the best set-up to harness the potential of Bridgestone's tyres. As all drivers have the same chassis, engines and tyres, getting the tyres to work at their best will be key to a good result and Bridgestone's tyre engineers will be on hand to assist the teams and drivers in reaching this goal.

The 4.66 km circuit can be characterised as one that is harsh on tyres. High loads are experienced, particularly in turn three, and those tyres on the left hand side of the car are put under a lot of stress. Bridgestone brings an average of 760 tyres to each round, and these include both wet and dry weather Potenza tyres.

In 2007, Bruno Senna (Arden) and Timo Glock (iSport) both won races in Barcelona. Whilst Glock went on to win the championship and now races in Formula One for the Panasonic Toyota Racing Team, Senna returns to the scene of his first GP2 Series victory, this season driving for reigning champions, iSport.

Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development "This will be the first race with the new generation GP2 Series cars so it will be very interesting to see how quickly teams and drivers come to terms with the task. Barcelona is quite a severe circuit so we bring our hardest compound Potenza GP2 slick tyre. This tyre is designed for use on the most punishing circuits and we only use it in Barcelona and in Istanbul. Braking stability is important in Barcelona and it is very important to get good car balance in the slow speed corners. This weekend will be a challenge for teams and drivers alike and I expect we will see some exciting racing as 26 drivers try to stake their claim on an F1 drive for next year."

Stats & Facts
Number & Spec of tyres for Barcelona: 760 (hard dry & wets)
Pole position time 2007: 1m 27.713s - T Glock, iSport
Fastest race lap 2007: 1m 29.989s - K Nakajima, DAMS (R1)
Top three 2007 race1: B Senna (Arden), T Glock (iSport), L di Grassi (ART)
Top three 2007 race 2: T Glock (iSport), J Villa (Racing Engineering), L di Grassi (ART)

Bridgestone GP2 Series: Q&A with Hirohide Hamashima

The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series starts its fourth season in 2008 with a new car and big changes in the driver line-up. Bridgestone Motorsport Director of Motorsport Tyre Development Hirohide Hamashima gives an insight into what could be expected for the season ahead.

Q: What is new for Bridgestone Motorsport for the 2008 GP2 Series season?

A: 2008 is set to be a very exciting season for Bridgestone. We have moved our production of GP2 Series tyres to our Technical Centre in Rome. This helps us with logistics for this European-based series as well as giving our Rome base an exciting challenge. Our engineers will have to work out the best way of using our tyres with the new GP2 / 08 car and we will have new drivers to work with too.

Q: How much of a change is it moving tyre production to Italy?

A: This is a significant change but one we are excited about. Previously the tyres were produced in Japan and shipped over to Europe, so producing them nearer to where they will be used is a big step. Bridgestone has a large presence in Rome with a Technical Centre and a Proving Ground, so producing our GP2 Series tyres there shows our continued development at that facility.

Q: Logistically, how much of a challenge is it supplying two championships, with the GP2 Asia Series?

A: Producing tyres for two GP2 series was not a problem as Bridgestone has considerable technical and manufacturing expertise. For the GP2 Asia Series we produced our tyres in Japan while the Europe based series tyres are being manufactured in our Technical Centre in Rome. In the future we may consider moving all GP2 tyre production to Italy. In terms of the two series though, it was interesting for Bridgestone to race at new circuits, and for our engineers and fitting staff this was a new and rewarding challenge.

Q: Will the tyre compounds be the same as last season?

A: Our compounds for the GP2 Series will remain the same as those used last season: hard, medium and super soft. The hard compound is used at the two most severe circuits on the calendar: Barcelona and Istanbul. The super soft compound will only be used in Monaco, where high levels of grip are required. The medium compound will be used at the remaining circuits.

Q: How big a challenge will it be working with the new GP2 / 08 car?

A: Of course, we were very familiar with the previous specification GP2 Series car as it was used, in updated forms, for three seasons. The new car should be a fresh challenge, and we look forward to learning about its characteristics.

Q: How rewarding for Bridgestone is its involvement with the GP2 Series?

A: It is very rewarding for Bridgestone to support so many categories of motorsport. We support drivers from karting, through to Formula 3 and Formula Nippon to the GP2 Series and then Formula One and the IndyCar Series. We have six drivers in Formula One this season who have come from the GP2 Series, and this shows us how strong the Series is for developing driver talent and this benefits us.

-credit; bridgestone

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Timo Glock , Bruno Senna
Teams Toyota Racing , DAMS , Racing Engineering