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A successful GP2 team has partnered with one of the leading lights in GP3 to create a new driver development programme.
Title-winning GP2 team iSport International and Status Grand Prix have established the iSport/Status GP Performance Partnership which will see the leading GP3 Series driver from Status GP's team in the 2013 championship win a prize drive with iSport's GP2 Series operation in the post-season official tests.
Status GP's drivers in the 2013 GP3 Series will also be evaluated by iSport at their bespoke GP2 Series simulator at the beginning and end of the season and these assessments, combined with the season's results, will determine which driver receives the prize test.
Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, iSport and Status GP will also share key technical information and engineering assessments during race weekends where the two series combine on the Formula One support package at the Grands Prix across Europe.
With the new-generation GP3 Series car being upgraded to 400hp from 2013, the performance of the AER-powered Dallaras will be even more closely aligned to the 600hp Dallara GP2 car. In the eight years since GP2's inception, 19 drivers have graduated from GP2 to Formula One, most notably Romain Grosjean (the GP2 2011 champion) and Pastor Maldonado (2010).
iSport won the 2007 GP2 Series drivers' and teams' championships, and has amassed 23 race victories, while Status GP has the second highest number of race wins from the first three seasons of GP3, and is again entered in the category as it enters its second phase from 2013.
"This is an important link between two like-minded teams that will help promote drivers through the tiers in the GP2/GP3 Series paddock," said iSport team co-owner Paul Jackson. "Knowledge of the Pirelli P Zero race tyres and the Formula One circuits are vital parts of a driver's training for F1, and the iSport / Status GP Performance Partnership extends our shared ethos of supporting driver talent."
"We are delighted to establish this link with one of the most respected GP2 teams with a proven record of producing top-line drivers," added Status GP team principal Teddy Yip Jr. "The two teams remain independent, but the alliance will assist our GP3 drivers to prepare for the next step to GP2 right from the start of the season. Combining engineering know-how in terms of tyre performance and track conditions during race weekends is also a key facet in maximising both teams' performance and providing our respective drivers with the best chance of success."
iSport completed its GP2 season in Singapore at the weekend, Marcus Ericsson finishing seventh in the feature race and second in the sprint Race, while Status GP is gearing up for the post-season official GP3 tests in October and November before receiving the update kits for the new car in December.
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