GP2 and GP3 preview: Spa-Francorchamps 23-25 August 2013
The GP2 and GP3 drivers return to the world stage following a four-week summer break ready to take on Spa: one of the fastest and most demanding rounds on the calendar. Round eight of the GP2 series and round six of the GP3 series, Spa is the longest circuit of the year and will challenge drivers as they tackle a seven-kilometre lap that include 19 turns. For GP2, Pirelli has nominated the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero Yellow soft compounds to combat the wide-ranging demands of Spa and its changeable weather conditions. GP3 uses just one compound for the race weekend – which for Spa is the hard compound, well suited for the various demands of the formidable Belgian circuit.
Pirelli’s racing manager says:
Mario Isola: “Spa is the ultimate test of skill for both the GP2 and the GP3 drivers, as well as our Pirelli tyres. Everyone knows that Spa is demanding: it’s like a rollercoaster with the number of twists and turns it imposes and the smallest mistake can prove costly. The hard and soft compound tyres seemed the best solution and they should be well suited to deal with the high-energy demands and fast compressions that characterise this race. We have made this choice in order to encourage a variety of strategies, as we expect to see a difference in lap time of around one second between the two compounds. This nomination also allows the drivers to cope with different weather conditions – a frequent occurrence in Spa – as the compounds in GP2 do not have the same working ranges as their equivalents in Formula One. For GP3, the teams will use the hard compound that should give the drivers maximum grip and durability on fast corners such as Blanchimont, Pouhon and Eau Rouge. Kimi Raikkonen tested the new-for-2013 GP3 car recently and enjoyed getting the most out of the tyres. The GP3 car is quicker now than ever before and combined with the demands of a tricky circuit like Spa, our tyres for this category will face the biggest challenge of the year so far.”
The challenge for the tyres:
Spa is one of the most awesome racetracks in the world due to its fast flowing nature, which sees the drivers on full throttle for approximately 80% of the lap. At such high speeds, the tyres are understandably put under huge amounts of pressure.
One of the main issues is that high speeds and aggressive camber angles can cause blistering as heat builds up around the edges of the tyres. The big compression at Eau Rouge also puts a huge amount of energy through the tyres, in terms of both lateral and longitudinal forces.
As well as several high-speed corners, Spa is often characterised by varying climatic conditions, which means that the Cinturato intermediate and full wet weather tyres could be called into play at any moment.
The race and the rules:
Every car will have five sets of dry tyres and three sets of wet weather tyres available for the GP2 race weekend.
The five sets of dry tyres comprise three sets of the harder compound (hard) and two sets of the softer compound (soft).
The drivers can use their tyre allocation in any way they like. One set of the hard compound must be returned after free practice.
Race One on Saturday is run over 170 kilometres or one hour and each driver must complete one compulsory pit stop during which a minimum of two tyres must be changed.
The grid for Race Two on Sunday is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed.
Race Two is run over 120 kilometres or 45 minutes, with no compulsory pit stops.
Every car will have three sets of dry tyres and two sets of wet weather tyres available for the GP3 race weekend. Only one compound is nominated (hard). The drivers can use the tyre allocation in any way they like. All the GP3 compounds carry yellow markings.
There is one practice session, one qualifying session and two races in GP3.
Qualifying takes place at 0945 on Saturday morning followed by Race One at 1720 (which lasts 13 laps or 30 minutes). Race Two is on Sunday at 0925 (which also lasts 13 laps or 30 minutes). The grid for Race Two is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed.
Qualifying takes place at 0945 on Saturday morning followed by Race One at 1720 (which lasts 17 laps or 30 minutes). Race Two is on Sunday at 0925 (which also lasts 17 laps or 30 minutes). The grid for Race Two is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed.
Located near Liege in the east of Belgium, Spa is a favourite amongst drivers and fans alike due to its spectacular turns, rapid changes of elevation and breath-taking scenery. First opened in 1922 at over 15 kilometres in length, the circuit has been modified several times since and now stands at just over seven kilometres. Last year, Marcus Ericsson (iSport International) and Josef Král (Addax Team) were the GP2 winners at Spa. The GP3 winners were Daniel Abt (Lotus GP) and Matias Laine (MW Arden).
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