by Murray Taylor
Newly crowned GP3 Champion Mitch Evans showed good pace in his first official testing of a GP2 car during two days at the Barcelona circuit in Spain on Tuesday and Wednesday (October 30-31).
The 18-year-old quickly adapted to the dramatic increase in power from GP3 to GP2. His 2012 turbocharged 2.0-litre GP3 engine produced 280hp; in stark contrast to the 612hp of the 40-litre V8 Renault in the Arden International GP2 chassis.
“It was a big step up from GP3 but I got the hang of it quickly. The engine has so much more grunt. My first impression was that it was an absolute animal,” said Evans.
“On the first day it seemed the car was more in control of me than I was in control of the car; but I settled in well and I think we were really competitive.”
On Tuesday Evans was ninth fastest in the morning session. He quickly set the fastest ‘rookie’ time in the 27 car line up and improved to be eighth fastest in the afternoon session.
Mitch Evans testing the number 26 Arden International car at Barcelona.
“It was a bit like the first time I tested a GP3 car. The details come to you as you spend more time in the car. The GP2 is a lot more physically hard to drive and there is more technology to learn – there’s a lot more detail with these bigger cars”
Evans ran 64 laps in the two Tuesday sessions and was looking forward to the second day. Unfortunately, the Wednesday morning session was thwarted by wet conditions and the Spanish track was still drying during the afternoon run.
“We were competitive on the second day but there were lots of incidents. Both runs I had on new tyres were compromised by red flags. We were more competitive than the times indicate – and there is plenty more to come,” said Evans.
Evans covered only 44 laps in the wet and drying conditions on Wednesday and was twelfth fastest in the afternoon session. “We showed good potential and there is a lot more to come from me as I get more familiar with the car.”
The second official GP2 testing is at the Jerez circuit in the Andalucia region of southern Spain on November 22/23. Before then, Evans has been invited to drive the prototype of the new Dallara GP3 car during the next official GP3 testing at the Estoril circuit in Portugal on November 6/7.
He drove the new 400hp V6-engined chassis at Magny Cours recently and in Portugal he will continue the Dallara development, running alongside all the aspiring GP3 drivers who will be in the current 2012 cars.