SMITH ENJOYS FIRST TASTE OF GP3 WITH CARLIN AT PAUL RICARD McLaren Autosport BRDC Award Winner Dean Smith delivered an unsurprisingly impressive performance on his GP3 Series test debut in France this week after joining renowned British team ...
SMITH ENJOYS FIRST TASTE OF GP3 WITH CARLIN AT PAUL RICARD
McLaren Autosport BRDC Award Winner Dean Smith delivered an unsurprisingly impressive performance on his GP3 Series test debut in France this week after joining renowned British team Carlin for a two day outing at the 3.85km Paul Ricard HTTT Circuit.
The 22-year-old, from Wombourne in Wolverhampton, made an immediate impact during the first day of the latest official test for the brand new category on Wednesday, 31st March, by emerging as the fastest rookie driver from the three-hour morning run. Posting a best lap of 1m21.764 seconds, he ended the opening session a very promising 11th quickest.
Although only completing a total of seven laps in the afternoon due to an electrical problem, an issue which was traced by the Carlin mechanics to a wiring loom fault, Dean hit back strongly on day two, Thursday, 1st April, with another excellent display.
Lapping with the 12th fastest time of 1m20.962 seconds during the morning, an effort which proved to be his best of the whole test, he went on to set a time of 1m21.118 seconds at the wheel of his Renault-powered Dallara during the final afternoon. Concluding the last session inside the top eight, Dean was only just over three 10ths of a second shy of the pace.
"For my first time out in a GP3 car, to be on the edge of the top 10 during the first session and then top eight out of 29 drivers during the final afternoon isn't too bad at all -- I'm quite pleased with how everything's gone in all honesty", commented Dean, "Considering we missed the first afternoon with the electrical fault, I think we can all be happy with the progress we made and what we achieved.
"The GP3 car has a huge amount of grip, much more aerodynamic grip than a Formula 3 car and it's much quicker through the corners. I really enjoyed working with Carlin over the last couple of days and I know we definitely had the capability to be in the top four."
Dean is yet to reveal his plans for the 2010 motorsport season but is undoubtedly one of the hottest properties on the path to Formula One, as underlined by his latest accolade as one of just 13 young British drivers on the BRDC Superstars programme. This is, of course, in addition to his success last year in winning the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award and the Formula Renault UK title.
New for 2010, the inaugural GP3 Series will be contested over eight race meetings at some of the most high-profile tracks in Europe. Most importantly, GP3 will also run as part of the FIA Formula One World Championship support package at seven events -- including the British Grand Prix at Silverstone -- making the series a highly attractive option for Dean should he secure a race deal.
-source: dean smith