Evans fastest Rookie in Spanish GP2 test

The 18-year-old Aucklander, who was the youngest of the 24 driver taking part in the pre-season testing, finished three days of wet and dry running with the eighth fastest time in the last session on Friday afternoon.

"We made good progress over the three days. I’m starting to feel more comfortable with the GP2 car and in a position where I know I can go faster. There’s more potential yet - I just need more time in the car,” said Evans.

The 2012 GP3 Champion has quickly adapted to the dramatic increase in power in GP2. Last season’s turbocharged 2.0-litre GP3 engine produced 280hp; in contrast to the 612hp of the 40-litre V8 Renault in the Dallara GP2 chassis.

Evans covered 170 laps of the 4.4km circuit during the six hours of track time allowed each day; and on Thursday he was faster than Arden International team mate Johnny Cecotto Jnr in both the morning and afternoon runs for the first time.

"Johnny has raced four seasons in GP2 so it is good to have the benefit of his experience. It gives me a benchmark and it was good that we were giving similar feedback to the engineers.”

Cecotto is the 23-year-old son of the Venezuelan motor cycle World Champion who went on from his 350cc title with Yamaha in 1975 to race cars in Formula 1 in the mid-eighties.

"The team were happy with our performance and I’m getting on well with Chris Gorne who was the engineer with the New Zealand A1GP team. He’s great to work with and I’m already feeling confidence within the team.”

"At the end we were just a couple of tenths off being second fastest, so that was a very positive outcome. All and guys around me were experienced GP2 drivers, so it is good to be mixing it with them already. And I know there is more time to come from me.”

The GP2 teams were allowed five sets of the hard ‘prime’ tyres and two sets of the medium ‘option’ tyres for the Jerez test and Evans admitted his team were struggling early on to adjust to the latest Pirelli rubber.

"The tyres are different than last year. Our 2013 tyres are more similar to the Pirelli Formula 1 tyres and we had to make a lot changes to get our cars to work with these new tyres.” explained Evans.

"Our initial base line wasn’t working so it was encouraging that we were able to work though the issues and be setting competitive times at the end. It was tough for me because Jerez is a venue I don’t know all that well and you need to get the tyres working in a single lap.”

"We did a full race simulation run on the second day and I also got in some practice starts and pit stops. There are new strategies for me to learn and these cars are difficult to get off the line. It will take a while for me to master the technique.”

Next week Evans will be at the Barcelona circuit for the second and final pre season GP2 testing (March 5-7) before the opening races of the eleven round GP2 season at the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix on March 23-24.

In November Evans had his introduction to GP2 at the 4.6kmCircuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, where he was also fastest rookie and set the eighth fastest time.

"I will continue to gain confidence at Barcelona. It’s all good so far, really tough but we are working hard as a team and I’m pretty happy at the way my European season has started.

"After the off-season it is a bit of a shock to the system to be driving again, particularly when you do a full race run on day two. These cars are more physical to drive. You run a lot of castor at the front end, so the steering is heavy and, when you are running without a stop for an hour, you really feel it in the high speed corners,” said Evans.

"I expect I will adapt to it quickly because I’ve prepared well with all my training for the new season.

 

1stMarch, 2013

 

Issued by Murray Taylor on behalf of Mitch Evans Motorsport