GP3 might only have two full seasons to its name, but so far no one else has got a look in. Lotus GP – formerly ART – have two drivers’ and two team titles to its name. The mission for 2012 is to continue their winning streak.
A stepping stone between Formula 3 / Formula Renault and its big brother, GP2, GP3 pits young drivers – usually teenagers – against each other in stock 280bhp Renault-powered single seaters. Speeds reach 265km/h, and there’s lots of grip thanks to high levels of aerodynamic downforce and sticky Pirelli tyres. That doesn’t stop them sliding into each other with alarming regularity. GP3 is one of the most entertaining series there is.
Daniel Abt, from Germany, is the 2009 ADAC Formel Masters champion - dominating with eight wins – impressed at Macau in 2010, and finished seventh in the Formula 3 Euroseries last year. He opens his GP3 account in 2012.
Aaro Vainio – who has already won this season’s competition for the most vowels – is another Flying Finn. Goodness knows that they’re putting in the water up there. He finished second in 2010’s Formula Renault 2.0 season and made his GP3 debut last year with Tech 1, earning a feature race podium in Barcelona.
American driver Conor Daly will race for Lotus GP in the 2012 GP3 Series, completing a strong three-car line-up. He will share the garage with Germany’s Daniel Abt and Finland’s Aaro Vainio.
Conor is the son of Irish former F1 and Champ Car driver Derek Daly. Last season the 20-year-old raced in both Indy Lights and GP3, for Carlin. He tested with Lotus GP in December at Jerez, finishing inside the top ten.
“The goal in the off-season was to try and put myself in the best position to try and win the championship this season and I have no doubt that I've got the best chance to do so with Lotus GP,” said Conor.
Team boss Frederic Vasseur is chuffed with his new signing: “During the off-season tests, we found him to be a charming young driver who is very motivated by his work and his progress in a series which is ultra competitive. The quality of his work and his margin of progress convinced us that he is the man that Lotus GP needed to round out its 2012 line-up.”