Q and A with GP2's Bruno Michel
Q. Bruno, today's announcement is excellent news for the GP2 Series. There has been talk of an Asian Series for some time, but when did this all come together?
Bruno Michel - GP2 series organizer: It is true that this idea has been discussed for some time. The GP2 Series first raced in Bahrain in our inaugural season in 2005, and we returned there very successfully at the start of this season. The Middle East and Asia is a quickly expanding market for global Motorsport and is starting to produce many promising young drivers.
Naturally, when the chance arose for the GP2 Series to provide a platform for these aspiring drivers and Motorsport nations to showcase the excitement of GP2, we jumped at the chance.
The chance to form an agreement with Speedcar International came about, and I am positive that together we will create an exciting new event.
Q. Speedcar is a very different type of racing to the GP2 Series. What can fans of Motorsport expect from the new Grand Racing event?
BM: Speedcar is an exciting new series which will bring motorsport fans a taste of the American racing seen in NASCAR. The organizers have already managed to secure the support of many former F1 drivers, and it will be a great opportunity for racing fans in Asia to watch fast closed-wheel racing and top drivers.
The GP2 Asia Series is, of course, open wheel racing and is very different in that respect. Just as with the GP2 Series, fans will be able to see the best young up-and-coming driver talent, as they strive to reach Formula One.
Q. And, on that subject, there is the plan to include the GP2 Asia Series at F1 events. How important a factor was this in the decision making process?
BM: Very important. The GP2 Series and GP2 Asia Series exist to showcase the best in young driver talent and to prepare the teams and drivers for life and racing in Formula One. With Mr. Ecclestone's agreement, we will be included on some of the Asian races from the first season of the GP2 Asia Series, and will therefore maintain our close links with F1.
Q. At this early stage, can you give us an idea of how the calendar might look?
BM: It is still early, but we aim to meet up with the Grand Racing events starting in January. From there we expect to race at two Formula One weekends as well.
Q. Who will be involved in the GP2 Asia Series? The same teams and drivers, or will there be a more local flavor?
BM: We will open the entries to the GP2 Asia Series in due course and we will select the teams on the basis of their credentials. Obviously some of the existing GP2 Series teams will have a strong interest in joining the series.
As to the drivers it is clear that the aim of the series is to bring young Asian drivers through to the top of single seater competition, and we will make sure that Asian drivers will play a significant role in the make-up of the grid.