“Auto GP ends 2012 on a positive”

© Auto GP World Series.
© Auto GP World Series.

The Auto GP World Series has signed off on a positive season following the successful test of its new 2013 chassis in Barcelona last week.

Unveiled in November, the Auto GP 2013 chassis sees the series move away from it the Lola designed A1GP chassis as the championship becomes a constructor in its own right for the first time {note 1}.

The car features a reconfigured aerodynamics, giving the machine greater stability, improved airflow and higher levels of downforce.

If nothing else, the series has at least provided exciting racing as a support to the WTCC {note 2}, although it is far from holding a serious position on the ladder to Formula One, but then again, why should it?

There was much praise for the new-for-2013 Auto GP chassis from champion Adrian Quaife-Hobbs. Driving the new chassis on Thursday at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, the Englishman set a best lap of 1:32.857, some 1.1 seconds quicker than Super Nova’s Vittorio Ghirelli who was running the older car.

Ghirelli joined Quaife-Hobbs in running the 2013 car on the following day, although the competition was closer on this occasion with Manor GP’s Jordan King a “mere” four-tenths slower than the champion. Ghirelli was a further-tenth adrift in 3rd spot.
Although still painfully early in its running, the 2013 Auto GP machine displayed remarkable reliability, with Quaife-Hobbs notching up 102 laps over the two days with no issues.

Series boss Enzo Coloni was understandably happy with the results of the test. “The new, experimental car we put to test during these two days provided us with good results. Our staff carried-on some great development that will be analysed and elaborated during the winter in order to be ready for the first race of 2013.”

Former A1GP squad Team Ghinzani {note 3} made their Auto GP track début during the test, fielding both Kevin Giovesi and Nicola de Marco. The team will be competing in anger for the first time in March at Monza in the first of an eight-round campaign.
Like this year, each Auto GP weekend will consist of two races, although in a shift from last year, its calendar does not exclusively run as a support to the WTCC.

While its rounds at Monza, Marrakech, Budapest and Moscow remain part of the WTCC weekend schedule, the series will support the DTM at Nurburgring, Superstars at Donington and the ETCC at Brno.
The championship’s fifth weekend, pencilled in for July, remains unconfirmed at this stage.

{note 1}
Previous iterations of Auto GP have utilised already existing chassis’ since its beginnings as Italian Formula 3000 in 1999.

{note 2}
See below for some intense last lap action from Marrakech between Quaife-Hobbs and Sergio Campana.

{note 3}
Team Ghizani are the “baby” of former-F1 racer Piercarlo Ghinzani. Aside from their A1GP efforts, the squad were mainstays of the Italian Formula 3000 series and were part of German F3 when it morphed into the Euro Series.
The team enjoyed a stint in the revived Italian F3 championship in the last decade, before withdrawing to commit to A1GP.

2012 Auto GP World Series Post-Season Test (Dec 6-7, Barcelona, combined times)

Pos  Driver               Team              Time     
 1.  Adrian Quaife-Hobbs  Auto GP 2013 car  1m32.857s
 2.  Vittorio Ghirelli    Super Nova        1m34.039s
 3.  Jordan King          Manor MP          1m34.083s
 4.  Daniel de Jong       Manor MP          1m34.086s
 5.  Vittorio Ghirelli    Auto GP 2013      1m34.191s
 6.  Sergio Campana       Zele              1m34.823s
 7.  Kimiya Sato          Euronova          1m35.406s
 8.  Rodolfo Gonzalez     Manor MP          1m35.406s
 9.  Kevin Giovesi        Ghinzani          1m34.580s
10.  Antonio Spavone      Super Nova        1m35.079s
11.  Andrea Roda          Virtuosi UK       1m35.468s
12.  Giacomo Ricci        MLR 71            1m35.610s
12.  Kotaro Sakurai       Euronova          1m35.736s
13.  Yoshitaka Kuroda     Euronova          1m36.046s
14.  Luca Defendi         Ombra             1m36.631s
15.  Giuseppe Cipriani    Zele              1m36.699s
16.  Nicola de Marco      Ghinzani          1m38.293s
17.  Michele la Rosa      MLR 71            1m39.727s

2013 Auto GP World Series provisional calendar

March    24  Monza, Italy (WTCC) 
April     7  Marrakech, Morocco (WTCC) 
May       5  Budapest, Hungary (WTCC) 
June      9  Moscow, Russia (WTCC) 
July     --  TBA 
August   18  Nurburgring, Germany (DTM) 
September 1  Donington Park, UK (Superstars) 
October   6  Brno, Czech Republic (ETCC)

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