Despite several cash prizes already on offer, the Auto GP Series announced an extra incentive for its competitors over the weekend.
The Championship – formerly known as Euroseries 3000 or Euro Formula 3000 – will dole out €100,000 per race weekend. However they have sweetened the pot by throwing in a guaranteed GP2 test session for both the Champion and the best under-21 driver, but what is the worth of that prize?
While this is very nice, it is still a struggle to place the Auto GP series. In the battle to reach Formula 1, the likes of GP2, GP3, the various international Formula 3 and Formula Ford Championships loosely connect a trail, with World Series by Renault and Formula 2 sitting on the periphery.
Auto GP on the other hand just seems to there, not doing anything in particular other than existing. It is tempting to ask that if a driver is capable of GP2 (or GP3 if it comes to it), then what does Auto GP actually offer?
The reigning champion, Romain Grosjean had the advantage of still being part of Gravity Management’s driver repertoire; however the list of other recent title winners hardly drips with Formula 1 contenders. Indeed Grosjean was able to easily win the title despite missing one-third of the season.
Other past champions such as Nicolas Prost, Davide Rigon, Giacomo Ricci, Luca Filippi and Nick Pastorelli amongst others have failed to set the world alight and it is a trend that may continue unless Auto GP finds a slot on the ladder that gives it prominence. Otherwise it’s just another series.
Will a GP2 test be enough? Realistically a race seat would be better… but it is a start.