GP2 testing in Barcelona report
After a great season in Auto GP World Series this year, I took the opportunity to test GP2 last week. I decided to test for iSport for two test days, Tuesday and Wednesday, in Circuit de Catalunya (Barcelona), a race circuit I really enjoy.
Before I went to Barcelona I visited the british team in their base in Norwich, UK. I used my time there to simulator testing and to create a good seat for my GP2 car. I also got to know the team and how they worked. iSport is a newer team, that has been racing in GP2 since GP2 was founded in 2005. Several formula one drivers have been racing for this team, like Bruno Senna, Timo Glock and former F1 drivers Scott Speed and Karun Chantok.
The test days in Barcelona was devided into two test sessions each day. On the first day, the weather was dry, and I started off with a new setup, that the team never had tried on this track. This was so the team could see how I worked as a driver, on how I gave feedback and how I worked together with the team on getting the optimal set up for my car. The team really liked what they saw, and thought I was doing really professional job.
I am really happy with my first testday in Barcelona. We got a lot good testing out of it, and it was really fun to drive in GP2 again. The only negative thing was that I didn’t get a possibility to set a good lap, because in the end when I was finished setting up my car for ideal lap performance, there was too much traffic and red flags that made it impossible to take a good free lap in the end of session 2.
On day two there was rain in the first session, and it dried up during the end of the second session. I started up pretty good. I had a good setup and a good pace on rain, and was always in top 3 during the first session on rain. In the end of the first session when it started to dry more up, I didn’t get to take a good lap on the better conditions, because of red flag. Personally I didn’t take that bad, because we knew that I actually was the fastest driver on the track, even though I didn’t get it on the result list.
On the second session of day two it was drying up all the session. We took some time, 30-45min, to adjust the car and fix some technical issues, and waited for the track to dry up before we went out on the track on slicks. It wasn’t useful to go out in a half dry track just to burn up a set of rain tires. Most teams waited like we did. When the track conditions inproved enough, Palmer went out before me and took P1, lap after lap. When I went out, I warmed up a couple of laps and when I started pushing I took P1 on my first pushing lap. After I had P1 lap after lap, improving my lap every lap, until I had a 4 second lead over Palmer in P2.
When it got really dry and everybody was out on the track I was always in the top 10.
I went in and changed to fresh tires when the track was on its best, but the team miscalculated when they let me out on the track, so I got into lots of traffic, and wasn’t able to set a good free lap with new tires in the best track conditions.
In conclusion I am very happy with the testing. It was really awesome to test GP2 again after a whole year since I last drove a GP2 car. I felt I got a really good test out of it, with no major issues. iSport did a good job, and I felt we had a good communication all the way. I was also very strong during the test which was awesome. I was always in the top, and many times on P1. I’m sure I was the fastest driver on the track. I didn’t get a possibility to get good end results, P7 on the best session, because the track was always at its best conditions in the end of the sessions, and I didn’t get a possibility to drive a free good lap on the best conditions, because of red flags and traffic, but I am very confident after this test because I was mostly in top 3 and in P1 during the less good weather conditions. Personally I care mostly about the total of the test on testdays, a good end result usually is plain luck on test days, because it requires that the lap is free from traffic with fresh tires in the best conditions, which usually are on the end, when everybody is on the track (lots of traffic) and people crash and cause red flags.
I am really happy with the testing in GP2. It feels like a nice deserved reward after a great season in Auto GP to get to drive GP2 again. We had a lot of fun, and got a lot out of the testing. It raised my confidence as a driver, and I thank iSport for their interest in having me to test for them J I really feel more experienced and confident to perform well in GP2 now than I was in my GP2 season in 2011 after driving a full season in GP2 in 2011 and a full season in Auto GP World Series this year.