The twelfth season of the GP2 Series kicks off this weekend at Barcelona as the Circuit de Catalunya hosts the first round. Once again, the 2016 grid is highly competitive with multiple race winners and podium finishers hoping to shine and out-best their rivals.
Kiwi driver Mitch Evans is one of six previous GP2 Series race winners to take to the grid this season (Nobuharu Matsushita, Sergey Sirotkin, Alex Lynn, Mitch Evans, Raffaele Marciello and Arthur Pic). This season Evans has switched from the Russian Time team to Campos Racing.
Racing will most definitely provide some edge-of-your-seat action. Amidst the more seasoned drivers, six rookies have joined the field includingthree GP3 graduates: Luca Ghiotto, Marvin Kirchhöfer and Jimmy Eriksson – all of them scored wins, podiums and pole positions in the sister Series.
The Italian from Trident fought all season long last year for the GP3 crown and finished runner-up just eight points behind the Champion. In March, the GP2 teams and drivers gathered at the Spanish track for the first pre-season test of the year.
It was PREMA Racing’s Pierre Gasly who set the quickest laptime of the three-days in a blazing 1:27.386. The well-known circuit layout is particularly rough. This increases tyre degradation and canaffect the performance.
Once again, tyre management will be key for a strong result over the weekend. Pirelli have selected Hard and Soft compounds for this round.