GP2 series unveils new chassis in France
The GP2 / 08, the car which will form the racing foundation of the second generation of the GP2 Series from 2008-2010, has undergone testing for the first time at Circuit Paul Ricard HTTT in France. Powered by a 4l Renault V8 engine and running on slick Bridgestone Potenza tires, the all new Dallara-designed car ran for 60 laps without complication, under the steady hand of 2006 GP2 Series Vice-Champion and Renault F1 Team test driver, Nelson Piquet Jr.
The GP2 / 08 has been designed to ensure that the fantastic racing which has been the hallmark of the GP2 Series in its first tri-annual generation will continue into the future. Great care has also been made to ensure that the operation of the car remains a genuine challenge for the GP2 Series teams. A number of lessons have been learned in the first three years of the GP2 Series and the GP2 / 08 is the culmination of the combined experience of our Technical and Engineering heads, together with the advice and recommendations of Renault, Bridgestone, Dallara and Mecachrome.
The stunning GP2 / 08 is visibly different from its predecessor. The front end of the car features a new and aggressively low nose, single keel suspension and a beautifully sculpted and aerodynamically efficient front wing assembly. The tub itself pulls in far tighter under the legs of the driver, before flowing back into the completely re-designed sidepods, which are a consequence of a new radiator and cooling set-up. The barge-boards, too, are noticeably different: far larger and more sculpted and efficient than their previous incarnation.
The rear end of the car is completely new in concept and design. The contours of the engine cover fit the Mecachrome-built unit far tighter than ever before, and the rear of the sidepods combine both brand new chimneys and a new take on the beautiful shark gills which appeared briefly in 2006. The rear point of the engine cover pulls down to a markedly different and far neater exhaust assembly, and the rear wing is a brand new development of that seen in 2007.
Bruno Michel, GP2 Series Organizer:
I am incredibly proud to see the GP2 / 08 test for the first time. It is an aggressive and beautiful looking car, and is the perfect vehicle with which to take this series forward. Of course, today is just the start of the testing and development process for the next generation of the GP2 Series, but at this moment I must pay tribute to our partners Renault and Bridgestone, to the work and ideas of both Didier and Bernard in the conception of this new car, and to everyone at Dallara and Mecachrome for all of their input and hard work on this project. This car has been designed to keep the GP2 philosophy of racing intact, to maintain the show, training, cost efficiency and safety of the Series, whilst at the same time making a large step forward in technology.
As we look to the future, it is amazing to think of what the GP2 Series has achieved in such a short space of time. I am sure I speak for everyone when I say how excited I am to see the next generation of the series launched today, and I look forward to watching this car grow as it forms the basis of the next three years of competition.
Nelson Piquet Jr, GP2 Series Development Car Driver:
The test saw us run a program to check the overall handling of the new car and to make sure the operating temperatures were all OK. At this early stage it’s difficult to say much about the car because it is completely fresh from the factory, but I was very happy with the way it ran as we had no problems. From a first impression, the car has a lot of upgrades, particularly with the aero and the big cuts in the sidepod. Also there’s the new floor and the gearbox.
It already feels faster, especially in the high speed corners, and I’m pretty confident that on most circuits it will immediately be around a second faster than the current car. Also, the upgrades should make it very reliable, whilst also keeping the speed, which is important. I’m sure the more I get to drive the car, the better it will be. We’ve got another test planned a bit later in July so I’m looking forward to working with the team on setting up the car and really seeing what it can do.
Didier Perrin, GP2 Series Technical Director:
I am delighted with the GP2 / 08. The work that Dallara has done in the design of the new car is of the highest standard and as can be seen from today’s photographs, we are moving to the future not with a development of the old machine, but with a brand new racing car.
One of the important things to remember is that the GP2 / 08 is not only a car for the 2008 season, but a car that has to last until the end of 2010. This was at the centre of our thinking when we were working on the design with Dallara. We had to make sure that we were making a step forward in design that would still be relevant and up to date in 2010, and in line with F1.
We had three main targets for the GP2 / 08. First we wanted to make sure that the GP2 Series remained as close as possible to Formula One, so that we would remain as the only viable final step for aspiring F1 drivers. Second, it was important that the teams, engineers and drivers were given a new, exciting and difficult challenge. And finally, we wanted to make sure that the costs were kept at a reasonable level.
The car has been improved in every area. Most noticeable at first glance is the aerodynamics. We have taken the benefit of recent aerodynamic developments in Formula One and that is why the look of the GP2 / 08 is closer than ever before to Formula One. From the beginning of the design process we also decided to increase the proportion of the ground effect in the overall downforce of the car because, in our mind, it is one of the key factors in promoting overtaking and providing a good show.
The GP2 Series has always placed safety as our highest priority and so as a very basic principle we wanted the GP2 / 08 to reach the latest F1 safety standards. For this reason the new car includes new anti intrusion panels and has been designed to meet the new front and rear F1 impact tests. As we are constantly looking ahead, the car has also been designed to incorporate the future on board GPS marshalling system.
We have listened to the opinions and requests of the GP2 Series teams and their views on the operational aspects of the car. Together with Dallara, we have combined three years of learning to create the GP2 / 08. There are many, many improvements present in this car, and I am sure it will keep us all entertained over the next three years.