It was emerged today that British racing hopeful Jordan King is set to test GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 machinery with Arden International.
King, who is 7th in his second season of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, is keen to take the next step on the motorsport ladder.
However like many young drivers on the rise, the choice between Formula One support category GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 – which headlines the World Series by Renault package – is proving a tricky one.
The 20-year-old has tasted both machines in tests last year and appears to already be leaning toward the former. “I would say my current preference is towards GP2; I really clicked with that last year and enjoyed driving it the most, plus one of its major trump cards is that it races on the support package to F1, so it’s a direct shop window,” said the former British F3 champion.
Indeed only last week, the GP2 Series announced that it is to introduce a DRS device from next season, bringing the technical package closer to Formula One. The current FR3.5 already possesses a DRS activated rear wing; however it operates to different sporting regulations.
For King, the many similarities make the choice an interesting one. “When I tested last year, it’s fair to say that both cars were a sizeable step-up in terms of power, downforce and braking capability, but neither was a shock.
“Both produce more than 500bhp, feature carbon brakes and extremely high levels of downforce and will run DRS in 2015, so they represent the logical next step on the ladder towards F1, which is my ultimate goal.”
Yet despite their similarities, both machines deliver their times in quite different ways, with the GP2 machine high on power and low on downforce, compared to the FR3.5 design, which is downforce intensive, but lower on power.
“They have advantages in different areas, but their level of performance is actually very similar to one another – it’s just delivered in a different manner due to their individual characteristics,” added the Warwick-born racer.
The outlook on tyres is also markedly different in both championships. Pirelli bringing high-degradation tyres to the GP2 programme that allows driver’s to tap into alternate strategies and changing tyre conditions, while the FR3.5 Michelin tyre is a much harder and longer lasting compound, allowing competitors to push to the limit for far longer periods in a race.
With so many factors coming into play, King believes taking a test programme with just one team will play to his advantage. “Arden is a professional outfit that has achieved a lot of success in both GP2 and World Series, which offers us a good benchmark from which to judge the two championships.”
King will be testing with Arden’s FR3.5 machine at Jerez first, before moving to their GP2 programme at Abu Dhabi in December.