It has been 152 days since the GP2 field last hit the track on a race weekend, but the wait is over as the first of 10 rounds kicks off this weekend in Bahrain.

This season will see new challenges as the cars have been fitted with DRS (Drag Reduction System) the same system used by the Formula 1 cars. All 24 drivers have been able to test the new addition to their cars during the six pre-season testing days in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

This season is being labelled as the strongest GP2 field in half a decade, as there are many seriously quick drivers in the field along with seven race winners (Marco Sorensen, Stoffel Vandoorne, Alexander Rossi, Mitch Evans, Raffaele Marciello, Arthur Pic and Nathaniel Berthon).

In pre-season testing it was the usual suspects of DAMS, ART Grand Prix, Carlin and Racing Engineering topping the timesheets. DAMS recruit Pierre Gasly – who raced for Caterham for three rounds last year – finished quickest on two days of testing. His team-mate and current GP3 champion Alex Lynn also topped a session, which suggests that DAMS are ready to defend their title from the get go in Bahrain.

Hilmer Motorsport will miss the start of the season which means there will be 24 cars racing this weekend.

Qualifying will be held at night in cooler temperatures; however the two races will occur during the daytime, which will see tyre degradation become a big factor in both the Feature Race and the Sprint Race. Hot temperatures combined with high level of asphalt roughness will accelerate tyre wear and will make the race hard on drivers who aren’t good at preserving their tyres.

The entry list:

Team No. Driver Nat Notes
DAMS 1 Pierre Gasly fr Moved from Caterham Racing
2 Alex Lynn uk GP2 debut; reigning GP3 Series champion
Carlin 3 Julián Leal co
4 Marco Sørenson dk Moved from MP Motorsport
ART Grand Prix 5 Stoffel Vandoorne be
6 Nobuharu Matsushita jp GP2 debut; reigning Japanese F3 champion
Racing Engineering 7 Jordan King uk GP2 debut; formerly European F3
8 Alexander Rossi us Moved from Campos Racing
Russian Time 9 Mitch Evans au
10 Artem Markelov ru
Trident 11 Raffaele Marciello it Moved from Racing Engineering
12 René Binder at Moved from Arden International
Campos Racing 14 Arthur Pic fr
15 Rio Haryanto id Moved from Caterham Racing
MP Motorsport 16 Sergio Canamasas es Moved from Trident
17 Daniël de Jong nl
Rapax 18 Sergey Sirotkin ru GP2 debut; formerly Formula Renault 3.5
19 Robert Vișoiu ro GP2 debut; formerly GP3 Series
Arden International 20 André Negrão br
21 Norman Nato fr GP2 debut; formerly Formula Renault 3.5
Status Grand Prix 22 Marlon Stöckinger ph GP2 debut; formerly Formula Renault 3.5
23 Richie Stanaway nz GP2 debut; formerly GP3 Series
Lazarus 26 Nathanaël Berthon fr
27 Zoël Amberg ch GP2 debut; formerly Formula Renault 3.5

 

Image via GP2 Series Media

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Josh Kruse

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