The GP3 Series season reached its conclusion in Monza after eight rounds of superb racing with MW Arden's Mitch Evans crowned Champion after a hard fought battle which came down to the wire. Many people have claimed 2012 has been the best season so far, so let's remind ourselves of some of the stand-out moments of a memorable year in the GP3 Series....
1. Firstly Monaco! Back in May, the GP3 Series assembled in the Principality for its maiden visit to one of the most legendary circuits in the world. After claiming pole position, Aaro Vainio (Lotus GP) was the first GP3 driver to be victorious around the streets of Monaco, with Marlon Stockinger (Status Grand Prix) winning Race 2.
2. Silverstone Race 2 will be remembered for a stunning drive from Brit' William Buller. The Carlin driver started from last place on the grid to claw his way through the pack in changeable and tricky weather conditions to pocket his debut victory in the series.
3. Antonio Felix Da Costa became the first driver in the history of GP3 to do the double by winning both races during the Budapest weekend! The Carlin driver also set the fastest lap in both races, collecting an impressive 44 points for his efforts.
4. GP3 Series welcomed two new teams in 2012, Ocean Racing Technology and Trident Racing, with both newcomers achieving rostrums. Kevin Ceccon for the Portuguese squad was third in Monaco whilst Giovanni Venturini scored two podiums for the Italian outfit.
5. Spa Francorchamps Race 1 was the scene for one of the best manoeuvres of the season with Daniel Abt producing an audacious move on title rivals Mitch Evans and Felix Da Costa. The German driver passed them both in one move at Les Combes on lap 3 with the Lotus GP rookie going on to collect up his first win of his campaign.
6. Triple Champions! Lotus GP claimed their third consecutive win in the Team Standings after Race 1 in Monza, with two of their drivers finishing in the top four of the championship.
7. The magic number is ten. There were ten different winners during the 2012 season, once again showing how fierce and competitive the Series is. Evans, Conor Daly, Vainio, Stockinger, Patric Niederhauser, Felix Da Costa, Buller, Abt, Matias Laine and Tio Ellinas all stood on the top step of the podium with eight of the ten achieving their first win in GP3.
8. GP3 Series history was broken again when Alice Powell (Status Grand Prix) became the first female driver to score a point after finishing eighth at Race 2 in Monza. After a strong start for the debutant in Barcelona, her season was to end with a flourish.
9. The final round in Monza was a season finale unlike no other, it had everything. Four drivers went into the closing weekend with a chance to be crowned GP3 Champion with Abt the rank outsider. Series leader Evans retired and had to watch on as his championship rivals filled the top three places, this was until Felix Da Costa suffered technical gremlins and Vainio was penalised. This left one man in contention, Abt who raced to victory in Race 1.
Abt's mission in the final race on Sunday was simple, only a race win was enough to stop the Kiwi claiming honours with the MW Arden ace having to non-score. The lights went out and Evans flew into the top ten, setting the fastest lap whilst sitting on the potential two points which would give him the title. Abt grabbed the lead of the race and then disaster struck for Evans after suffering a puncture, eventually finishing outside of the points. The Lotus GP driver had to retain the lead to steal the GP3 Series title but Marussia Manor Racing's Ellinas had other ideas. After a titanic tussle between the duo, the Cypriot passed Abt on the penultimate lap of the season to prevent Abt from winning Race 2 and this result was enough for Evans to become the third driver to win the GP3 Series title.
10. During an unforgettable Monza weekend, the GP3/13 car was unveiled to the world's media with Formula 1's Mark Webber on hand to fire up the second generation car. The new car is expected to be around three seconds faster, with drivers and fans eager to see the machine in action next season. Roll on 2013!