"Raimondo gains seat time in both GP2 and World Series 3.5 by Renault cars"
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada - Recently completing his 2012 racing season earning the European F3 Open Vice-Championship title, Canadian formula car racer Gianmarco Raimondo is now focused on his plans for 2013. Completing a test in a GP2 car with Racing Engineering in Barcelona just days before his F3 Open season finale, Raimondo was back on track testing a World Series 3.5 by Renault machine with International Draco Racing in Alcañiz as he makes his bid to secure a seat in either series for 2013.
"I had a great experience testing both the GP2 car in Barcelona and then WSR in Alcañiz," explained Raimondo. "I now have a first hand opinion on how the two cars compare to each other, seeing that they are quite similar, however on the same hand quite different."
Raimondo noted that the GP2 car has a lot of power and is technically an easier car to understand, as it doesn't have DRS or half of the controls compared to the WSR - such as launch control, throttle map aggressiveness, and an alarm cancelation button.
In continuing his comparison, Raimondo further explained the vast difference in tire compounds used for each series. In respect to the World Series car, the GP2 tire is inferior in terms of absolute grip, which really changes the driving style and qualifying to race set-up. Raimondo also experienced the difference from new to old tires, with the GP2 Pirelli tire varying four to five seconds per lap, compared to the WSR Michelin of roughly one to one and a half seconds.
During Raimondo's late October GP2 test, he found it a huge shock at the beginning during his first laps, in comparison to the F3. However with all the difference between the two relative, as the GP2 car has more power but also better brakes and grip, putting it a level up all together in performance, Raimondo quickly came to terms with the potent GP2 ride.
"In my first laps I had to admit, I've never been that rattled nor impressed by a car before, but after the second and third outing I was basically used to all the extra forces that I'm not use to feeling in the F3," continued Raimondo. "However, it was still a rush until the end and I can't wait to do it again!"
With limited runs due to tire degradation during his one day test, Raimondo showed 60+ laps during the test with Racing Engineering, however two-thirds were devoted to either cool down or warm up laps. The limited seat time driving the car at speed was very little in respect to other championships and despite all this, Raimondo managed to clock within one second of the leader by the afternoon.
"I was like a kid in a candy store I was so happy, definitely the highlight of my career," concluded Raimondo of his GP2 test experience. "This was a great achievement/memory in my books and I hope there will be more in the future."
After completing his GP2 test and wrapping up the 2012 European F3 Open series, Raimondo was back on track for yet another test, this time in the World Series 3.5 by Renault car this past week. Immediately noticing how much more grip the car had even in the first outing on cold tires, Raimondo initially struggled to find a good rhythm with the car and the Alcañiz circuit, his first experience with both.
An unfortunate problem with an oil pump, which put the engine at risk, forced the International Draco Racing crew to change the pump and sensors to ensure everything was fixed. The two-hour setback meant Raimondo only ran half the amount of laps of everyone else and without using new tires in the morning session.
During the afternoon session, Raimondo was able to run a good 40+ laps with his first set of tires and after running with new tires was able to set the seventh fastest time.
"It was like night and day comparing the car from old to new tires," explained Raimondo. "I forgot how much grip the Michelins really have and it was really fun to explore their limits."
On a second set of tires at the end of the day, Raimondo was held up on a potential fastest lap, which would have placed him sixth in the standings, but nonetheless he ended up 12th with his next best lap.
"I'm satisfied that the potential is there and I was able to get a good impression for the car to prepare me more for a decision for next year."
With the goal to run either the World Series 3.5 by Renault or GP2 in 2013, Raimondo's experience in both will prepare him for his future plans.
"Testing both cars with top teams gave me a very good impression on what to expect from both Championships in terms of driver level and car limits," concluded Raimondo.
For more information on Gianmarco Raimondo and to follow his progress during the off-season, please visit Gmo's website at www.gianmarcoraimondo.com.
About Gianmarco Raimondo:
Gianmarco Raimondo competed in the F3 Euro Series in 2011 following the F3 Italia Series in 2010 where he earned four top ten finishes and was third in the Rookie Championship. Raimondo also completed two seasons as a Formula BMW Americas Junior Driver, winning the coveted Junior Scholarship in 2007 and taking the 2008 Formula BMW Americas Rookie Championship thus making him a double BMW scholarship winner. He also placed third in the overall Championship both years in the BMW series. Gmo was born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada and is building a strong on track racing resume along with off track appearances and special event programs. For more information on Gianmarco Raimondo's racing career and sponsorship opportunities please visit www.gianmarcoraimondo.com, follow him on Twitter at @Racemondo or "Like" his Facebook Fan Page, Gianmarco Raimondo-Professional Race Car Driver.