The GP3 Series was launched last year as a feeder category to GP2, which has been driving talented young drivers directly into Formula One for the past six years. Pirelli was proud to support the inaugural season of this one-make single-seater championship with its ground-breaking 13-inch PZero control tyres.
The 2011 GP3 season will feature eight rounds supporting the Formula One Grands Prix in Europe, starting at the beginning of May and ending in mid-September. During each race weekend a practice and qualifying session will take place, followed by two races.
Before the start of the 2011 season, a total of eight official test days will be held firstly at Paul Ricard (France) from 2-4 March, followed by Silverstone (Great Britain) from 28-31 March and finally Barcelona (Spain) from 11-14 April. An additional two mid-season tests will follow: the first in Valencia (Spain) from 16-17 June and the second one replacing the Monaco round, with the date and venue still to be confirmed.
Throughout 2011, Pirelli will supply over 10,000 tyres to the GP3 Series, including all the official test sessions. As was the case in 2010, three types of dry weather compound (hard, medium and soft) and one type of wet weather compound will be produced. At races, three sets of control slicks will be allocated to each car per event, along with two sets of wet tyres if necessary. Together with the championship organisers, Pirelli will nominate in advance the single dry-weather compound that will be brought to each race for competitors to use.
Pirelli will bring its soft compound tyres to the Paul Ricard and Valencia tests, while the hard slicks will be tested at Silverstone and Barcelona. The choice of the compounds is in line with the characteristics of the tracks that will be used for the forthcoming test sessions.
At the request of the GP3 Series organisers, Pirelli will bring slightly different compound specifications to this year’s races compared to last season.
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery says: “For Pirelli, 2010 has not only been a season of action-packed GP3 racing but also a year of intense testing to further develop its GP3 racing tyres. Test after test, round after round, more data and feedback has been collected and the tyres have been adjusted accordingly. As tyres are a vital tool that young drivers need to learn to manage in their future careers, a degree of artificial degradation has been added to the rubber. Having tyres capable of higher performance with less durability should certainly spice up the on-track action, ensuring even more spectacular and closely fought race weekends. We now look forward to the pre-season tests to see how GP3 drivers will handle their new tyres. ”
2011 GP3 pre-season test sessions:
2-4 March Paul Ricard, France (Pirelli PZero soft compound)
28-31 March Silverstone, Great Britain (Pirelli PZero hard compound)
11-14 April Barcelona, Spain (Pirelli PZero hard compound)
2011 GP3 mid-season test sessions:
16-17 June Valencia, Spain (Pirelli PZero soft compound)
TCB June TBC (TBC)