I’m Driving This Buggy: Tony Hall of Fame Reports on Day Two of Valencia GP3 Test


GP3 Preseason Testing in Valencia, Day 2

After a glorious day one, the second morning has started cold, damp and miserable. At 9.00 the light went to green and the drivers that dared went out on wet tyres. Some would say good wet driving practice on the tight bendy Valencia circuit, especially after all the rain that was dumped on it.

As the morning moved on, the weather improved and the track dried and slicks were called for and clearly the times would get better.

Now I have to say that initially I was praising the relaxed approach to paddock life but on day two ART team were not overjoyed with my taking pictures of their car. I had wanted to take a picture of the front offside brake assembly without the wheel. Absolutely not I was told and that was I banished from the ART garage.

Then a bit later I was standing in front of the TRIDENT garage hoping to get a picture of Jean Alesi with or without his son. Suddenly I am accosted by a team representative telling me they did not want pictures taken of their car. I was asked if I had taken pictures, they even wanted to see my camera. Obviously I said I hadn’t, well not at that time anyway.

Now come on folks, the cars are all the same, engines, gearboxes, brakes, tyres the lot. The only things that they can alter are suspension settings, gear ratios, front and rear wing settings. We are not spies here at iberianmph.com but enthusiasts of the sport eager to take that unusual picture or ask that awkward question. Clearly I will have to work on finding a friend in those garages or better still get a long range lens for my camera!

Moving on, the morning finished early 12.00 so it was lunch time. The fastest time of the morning went to Koiranen GP driver Matthew Parry, car #14, with a 1.21.476 followed by ART drivers Fukuzumi and Leclerc.

After lunch the cars were back on track with 3 final hours left for testing. The next and final test being in a couple of weeks at Barcelona.

I said in my previous post that I wanted to chat with Alex Palou of Campos Racing. During a brief bit of garage time I caught up with Alex. He invited me into the team’s motorhome and we had an iberianmph one-on-one chat. Very nice young man, polite and keen to answer any question put to him. I have a feeling he will be going places in motor sport. Surprisingly, his driver idol was Michael Schumacher and now Lewis Hamilton. For the rest of the interview you will have to wait.

I bumped into Luis Pérez-Sala in the pit lane and of course took the obligatory photo and we did have a chat. He is working with young drivers in Barcelona and came to Valencia to catch up with GP3 and see his old team mate Adrian Campos (and me of course)!

You seem to see the same faces in pit lane, some ask who you are or who you represent. Of course I tell them ‘iberianmph.com’, a website dedicated to motorsport. It must be important because a guy came up to me asking who I was working for and how could he get an interview with Tatiana Calderón. I guided him in the right direction. So another happy customer.

Well, the weather stayed dry for the afternoon even if a few clouds came back. Most teams/drivers got lots of laps under their belts and the engineers and mechanics will have learnt much about the new GP3/16.

At 4.00 pm when the chequered flag fell the morning’s times remained the fastest of the day. Teams began packing up and putting cars and equipment into the trucks for a return to the teams’ facilities where preparations will be made for the next pre-season test session to be held at Barcelona on 20/21 April.

Overall a very good time had in the GP3 paddock, lots of great pics and interviews with team personnel and drivers.

Thanks again to GP3 for allowing iberianmph.com staff to attend. We look forward to our next visit to the GP2/GP3 paddock!

PS Yes, Tony. The editor can feel your pain: the ART guys were quick to close the garage door on me in Estoril and I was only looking for an ARTsy pic, if you pardon my French. Nobody was trying seize my digital camera roll in the form of a mighty supercapacitated SD card though! Roam free, TRIDENT people, your secrets are safe with us! I’m sure GP3 teams are only trying to emulate their hybrid brothers and sisters, F1 teams, when it comes to paddock security and being on the lookout for industrial espionage. We’re obviously not interested in spying on anybody at iberianmph.com HQ, we’re just looking for an element of fun in motor racing, bring some of that James Hunt-ism back and tell a story along the way, supported by a bunch of photos, no doubt.

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2 thoughts on “I’m Driving This Buggy: Tony Hall of Fame Reports on Day Two of Valencia GP3 Test”

  1. Raul Londono says:

    Tony, I am the guy that ask for you advice!. Thanks a lot.
    By the way, I meant Diego Mejia not Diego Merino, upss.
    Hope to meet you again at Gin Tonic Hour somewhere in La Marina….

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