GIANMARCO RAIMONDO READY FOR F3 EUROSERIES SEASON OPENER

Young Canadian completes pre-season testing in anticipation of 2011 season opener in France

Canadian Gianmarco Raimondo showed great speed in pre-season testing and will kick off his 2011 F3 EuroSeries season this weekend in France (Photo: GianmarcoRaimondo.com)

St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada – Gianmarco Raimondo, Canadian formula car racer, completed four days of official series testing ahead of the opening round of the 2011 F3 Euro Series season. The sessions in Valencia and Barcelona were Raimondo’s first tests in the Euro Series car and also his first sessions with Team Motopark. It was a very good first impression for Gmo who feels that he and the team can produce a car that is capable of winning consistently in the ultra competitive series. The pairing of Raimondo and Team Motopark showed excellent pace in Valencia and again in Barcelona. Running at two tracks that were familiar to the 20-year old racer was a big plus.

“The first test in Valencia was wet for most of the day, it somewhat dried up in the late afternoon, enough to use slicks, however not dry enough to push 100%,” commented Raimondo. “Even though the rain tires are a harder compound than the already hard Italian Kumho rain tires, the car felt easier to drive in comparison to the Italian F3.”

After the wet day one Raimondo would sit third in the morning sessions in what proved to be just an easier car to drive. In the last session, as the track was drying, it was a bit difficult to drive the car on the limit as the fourth year formula car racer dialed in a new slick tire and began to understand the car in the dry. The result was a conservative P7 on the time sheets in the afternoon session. The team then packed up and headed west to Barcelona for two more days of official series testing.

“Barcelona was very positive, in that it’s my favourite track and I was in a car I felt more comfortable with. Using my track notes from December when driving the Italian car, I was able to apply my reference points straight away to the track and drive the car on the limit within three to four laps,” continued Raimondo as prepares to open the 2011 season. “In the beginning of the first day, we didn’t run on new tires because there was too many problems with the car. However, my engineer and I discussed that it would be better to assess the car on new tires to really find the issue with the balance. Using our base set up we established and using new tires, we improved almost two seconds a lap putting me top three at the time.”

Unfortunately the team had to change an engine after the Valencia testing sessions because it was past its’ mileage. The engine that was used at the Barcelona test was a bit down on horsepower taking three tenths of a second off a good lap time. Even though in the end of the second day Gmo was P6, it definitely didn’t show the true pace. A red flag on Raimondo’s fastest lap didn’t help either, but it was a very productive test and the team learned a lot from these new tires as to how they behave under race distance and different heat cycles.

With testing in the books the focus is now on the opening round of the season taking place this weekend. The Formula 3 Euro Series is going to kick off their ninth season at Le Castellet’s in France at the long, flowing 5.791-kilometre circuit. Series partner Kumho is providing a completely new tire specification that has all teams looking for new setups. And the race weekends are now comprised three races instead of two races as the drivers will have to contest two rounds on Saturday and a third on Sunday. The first and third rounds will be 40-minute races while the race distance of round two is more of a sprint race at 20 minutes. The second fastest qualifying lap of a driver will count for the starting grid of race one and the fastest will be crucial for his grid position for race three. While the grid for the second race of the weekend will be set according to the result of race one, with the reverse-order format being used for the eight best-placed drivers.

“With the team working hard on developing the car to even better standards, I feel quite confident that we’ll come out of this weekend with good results,” comments Raimondo from his new home in Viareggio, Italy near the city of Pisa. “In respect to how competitive the times were in testing, it will be interesting to see what everyone’s true pace is in qualifying as well as their consistency in a race situation.”

With the 2011 season now underway, fans can catch up on all the F3 Euro Series news by checking out all of Gmo’s 2010 and 2011 results at gianmarcoraimondo.com.

About Gianmarco Raimondo:
Gianmarco Raimondo competed in the F3 Italia Series in 2010 where he complete 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 3rd 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 or call 905-650-5623

About F3 Euro Series:
The Formula 3 Euro Series is being considered as the world’s strongest junior racing category. Current Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton, Nico Hülkenberg, Sebastian Vettel, Sébastien Buemi, Kamui Kobayashi, Robert Kubica, Nico Rosberg, Lucas di Grassi, Timo Glock and Adrian Sutil all went through the selection process in the Formula 3 Euro Series. All of them used the professional environment to hone their racing skills for higher categories. More than two-dozen drivers from the ranks of Formula 3 Euro Series have made it into Formula 1 as test – or race drivers since the inception of the series in 2003.

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