Leading GP3 Series squad Arden International have confirmed the first two drivers for the 2014 GP3 Series campaign.
Romanian racer Robert Visoiu will be staying with the British squad for a second season, while Patric Niederhauser moves to Arden from Jenzer Motorsport.
The Banbury based team, headed by Technical Director Julian Rouse, took the Drivers’ Championship last season with Daniil Kvyat, but came home 2nd in the Teams’ Championship behind ART Grand Prix.
Another year with the Arden squad could be key for the 17-year-old Visoiu. Following a reasonable début year in 2012, Visoiu took two reverse grid victories last season, but struggled to make waves in the main Saturday races, often due to tricky qualifying results.
However the teenager from Pitești believes he is moving in the right direction. “I feel I’ve learned a lot during the previous year and now I am ready to step up to a more consistent evolution. Arden plays a key role in my development and I am confident that with their help I will be able to reach my goals.”
Rouse is well aware of Visoiu’s qualifying difficulties and knows that if the Romanian can improve on those elements, then he may be a title prospect. “He is very strong in the race conditions and if we continue to develop his qualifying pace he will be a very strong competitor in GP3 this season.”
The year also brings a touch of stability for Visoiu, who will be driving the same machine that he had last year – a first for the young man. “It will be the first time I get the chance to race the same car in two consecutive seasons and that makes me feel very positive about 2014!”
Meanwhile Arden have brought in the more experienced Niederhauser to sit alongside Visoiu. Niederhauser, a 22-year-old driver from Münsingen in Switzerland, took two wins in his opening GP3 Series campaign in 2012, but suffered a severe downturn in results last year that saw him drop to 13th in the standings.
From being a potential title challenger, Niederhauser will be hoping to rebuild his reputation in 2014 and despite only having one day’s post-season testing with Arden in November, he believes a shot at the title is a must. “It will be my third year in GP3 so my goal is to fight for the Championship. It will be an immense pleasure to work with them and I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my career.”
For Rouse, building relationships is the key to building a title hunt. “Patric is a proven race winner in GP3; […] even though we only worked together for one day during the testing the relationship between Patric and the team was very strong and now we need to focus on developing this further in the pre- season testing.”
Either, as both Visoiu and Niederhauser enter their third years in GP3, they know they need to score big.