Pirelli’s GP3 tyres in Valencia faced exactly the same challenge as their Formula One equivalents: significant energy loads going through the tyres, 25 corners, and high temperatures.
Although Valencia is a street circuit – the second consecutive one that GP3 has raced on after Monaco – it is faster and more demanding than many permanent facilities, with the added hazard of concrete walls close to the track that do not forgive any mistakes.
The GP3 drivers only had the soft tyre at their disposal (with three sets available, as per the regulations) so had to take great care to look after them in the warm conditions of Valencia: the hottest race that GP3 has faced so far this year.
New Zealander Mitch Evans (MW Arden) took his third victory of the year in the feature race with a perfect grand slam of pole, win and fastest lap, to regain the championship lead after a race-long battle with second-placed Aaro Vainio. He said: “The tyres were a bit of an unknown before we came here, but actually they managed to be OK for most of the race. At the end, I just pinned my ears back and tried to go for fastest lap, which I think we managed to do.”
Swiss driver Patric Niederhauser took his first victory GP3 victory for Jenzer Motorsport in Race 2 on Sunday morning, becoming the fifth different winner in six GP3 races: perfectly reflecting the closeness of the competition in Formula One, which is also equipped by Pirelli.
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola said: “Circuits such as Valencia, with its varied and complex demands, is not easy for drivers who are still learning about the intricacies of racing at such a high level Challenging situations such as these and closely-matched racing is going to prepare these young drivers perfectly for the demands they will face in their future careers.”
The GP3 Series resumes at the British Grand Prix from 5-8 July.
Pirelli Press Release