GP3 Series in 2016 – new bunch of youngsters hungry for glory
The GP3 Series is entering its seventh season this weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya, as one of the supporting competitions during the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix. In the past six seasons, the GP3 Series became the important step for many young drivers on their way to the Formula One or other prominent racing series.
Three of six GP3 champions is currently competing in Formula One – Esteban Gutierrez, Valtteri Bottas and Daniil Kvyat – so every one of 24 drivers who are entering a new GP3 season certainly have high hopes to become their successors and reach the cockpit of F1 car one day.
Completely new car for 2016 season
New drivers come and go every year but the biggest novelty for the 2016 GP3 season would be a completely new car. Dallara remains a chassis supplier but the GP3/10, which was in use since 2013, would be replaced with GP3/16 for next three season.
The new engine is coming with new chassis. It would be again the 3.4-litre V6 engine which produced 400 hp, but the new manufacturer is Mecachrome, instead of AER. The GP3/16 will again use a six-speed longitudinal sequential gearbox developed by Hewland. The tire supplier for the seventh year in a row would be Pirelli.
The GP3 Series is again sharing the most of the calendar with GP2 Series but without races at the street circuits in Monte-Carlo and Baku. The GP3 schedule features nine events with two races each.
2016 GP3 Series calendar:
14/15 May: Catalunya
2/3 July: Red Bull Ring
9/10 July: Silverstone
23/24 July: Hungaroring
30/31 July: Hockenheimring
27/28 August: Spa-Francorchamps
3 / 4 September: Monza
1 /2 October: Sepang
26/27 November: Yas Marina
Twenty-four drivers confirmed for the season-opening round
The drivers line-up for 2016 season currently consists of 24 names, with 28 as a maximum number. Due to fewer teams than before (seven instead of eight), the number of cars per team is increased to four.
2015 season champion Esteban Ocon already started his season in the DTM while the last year’s runner-up Luca Ghiotto graduated to GP2 Series. Of the last year’s leading drivers, the high-placed driver who are returning to the GP3 is Antonio Fuoco, who finished sixth in the 2015 standings.
ART Grand Prix wants the double again
ART Grand Prix, which took the drivers’ and teams’ titles last year, have a strong international line-up of four drivers with lots of wins in the other series: Charles Leclerc, Nirei Fukuzumi, Alexander Albon and Nyck De Vries.
The DAMS team, as a newcomer in the GP3 Series, also have a strong line-up of youngsters capable for victories: Jake Hughes, Kevin Jörg and Santino Ferrucci. The driver who is entering the GP3 with championship titles in his pocket is Jack Aitken, the winner of both Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and Alps cup.