Valencia SC: Bridgestone preview

The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to the Spanish city of Valencia for the eighth round of the season where the hotly contested championship will see the F1 stars of tomorrow race on the dramatic new course which runs through the streets...

The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to the Spanish city of Valencia for the eighth round of the season where the hotly contested championship will see the F1 stars of tomorrow race on the dramatic new course which runs through the streets of Spain's third largest city.

The 5.44 km Valencia track will be a venture into the unknown for the GP2 Series with the 25 turns on a lap giving the drivers plenty to think about as they learn the course, and seek out the best racing lines and overtaking opportunities.

For teams, finding a good set-up on this street course with no baseline data from previous events will be the challenge. Only one previous race meeting has been held on the track, and although some GP2 drivers did compete in this, it will be the first time a GP2 car has taken to the course, meaning that the lessons learnt in the half hour practice session will be vital.

The GP2 Series has raced previously in Valencia, at the permanent Circuit de Valencia - Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo. In 2006, the season started there and races were won by Nelson Piquet (Piquet Sports) and Michael Ammermuller (Arden). Last year the season finale took place in Valencia, and reigning champion Timo Glock was crowned there. Glock won one race for his iSport team, while Campos driver Vitaly Petrov won the other race. Whilst Glock will be racing on the streets for the Panasonic Toyota Racing Formula One team, Petrov will be trying to score a GP2 win on the streets this season, once more for the Campos squad.

Heading to Valencia, Giorgio Pantano (Racing Engineering) leads the championship by a reduced margin with 65 points from Bruno Senna (iSport) on 58. Lucas di Grassi (Campos) is in third place on 39 points. The teams' championship is led by iSport with 89 points, from Racing Engineering on 71. Campos are in third position with 60 points.

Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development

"Valencia is a new street circuit added to the Formula One and GP2 calendars this season. The surface will be very smooth and in terms of overall speed the track is expected not to be so quick. GP2 will use the medium compound Bridgestone Potenza racing slick in Valencia and our choice of tyre specification is a result of simulations by the F1 teams. The first sector consists of tight corners and car balance will be very important if drivers are to be fast through here. The downforce effect at this venue will not be so high. It will be an interesting challenge for the teams and we look forward to seeing how tyre performance can be maximised at this new track."

Stats & Facts

Number & Spec of tyres for Valencia:
760 (medium dry & wets)

Bridgestone GP2 Series: Q&A with Roldan Rodriguez

The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to the streets of Spain's third largest city for the eighth round of the 2008 GP2 Series. The new Valencia street course, located in the port area of the city, will be a step into the unknown for most of the GP2 Series field, although some GP2 drivers had the opportunity to drive at the new track in late July in F3 and GT races. FMS International driver Roldan Rodriguez is looking forward to his return to the Valencia circuit and answers the following questions.

Q. How are you enjoying your second season in the GP2 Series?

A. I always enjoy it when I am racing but I enjoy it more when the results come. Until now we have struggled a little bit with the results, but I think that in the future we can get more points.

Q. How are you finding this year's GP2/08 car?

A. It is quite different to the old car. It is better in faster stints, better in braking and it is more balanced. It's more like Formula One and I think they did well to make it closer to Formula One.

Q. How will you prepare for racing in GP2 at a new street course like Valencia?

A. I have had to do it a lot because last year I didn't know many tracks in GP2. So it's not the first time I will race in GP2 at a track which I have no experience with the GP2 car. You have to see the circuit map and try to see more or less the difficult corners and easier corners, but then until you are racing there you really don't know, for example, where the braking points are. I am lucky to have raced a GT2 Ferrari 430GT there a few weeks ago, so I now have a basic understanding of the circuit. However, for my first visit there with GP2 I think it will be very important to do the full 30 minutes of free practice, not to lose any time and to do as many laps as we can.

Q. What are the differences in set-up for a street circuit?

A. As a street circuit, Monte Carlo is very bumpy with corners with a lot of camber so the set-up has to be very soft to not lose tyre performance. For Valencia, things will be quite different as it is new and bigger. It will be more or less like a normal track for GP2 but in the city. So the set-up I think will not be like Monte Carlo but more like a normal track, like Magny Cours.

Q. What do you think will be the secret of maximising tyre performance in Valencia?

A. The secret is always the same, to push more than the other drivers, try and brake later than the others and accelerate before them.

Q. Do you work closely with the Bridgestone engineers in GP2 and how do they help you?

A. We get all of the information from them on the tyres that we need. We also provide Bridgestone with all the information they ask for about how the tyres were in the sessions, performance and oversteer. We work very closely with the Bridgestone engineers.

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Nelson Piquet , Timo Glock , Lucas di Grassi , Bruno Senna , Vitaly Petrov , Michael Ammermüller
Teams Toyota Racing , Racing Engineering