Bridgestone Belgium GP2 Preview

The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to the hills of the Ardennes for its ninth round which takes place at Spa Francorchamps as part of the Belgium Grand Prix race weekend.

Spa is the longest race track on the calendar and the 26 drivers who are angling to be the F1 stars of tomorrow face a thrilling 7km of varying corners and gradient change, including the world renowned delights of Eau Rouge, Raidillon and Blanchimont. With such a long lap and so many different types of corner, the teams will have their work cut out to find the right set-up, whilst the Ardennes forests, where the track is located, are well known for presenting the additional challenge of rain.

Bridgestone is bringing the medium compound Potenza GP2 tyre to Spa. The track is hard on tyres, with a long lap and high speeds combined with high levels of downforce meaning that the loadings going through the rubber are considerable. Last season in Spa the GP2 Series served up the delights of race wins for Nicolas Lapierre (DAMS) and Karun Chandhok (Durango). Chandhok will be on the grid this year, racing for iSport International. Heading to Belgium, Giorgio Pantano (Racing Engineering) leads the championship by an increased margin with 71 points from Bruno Senna (iSport) on 58. Lucas di Grassi (Campos) is in third place on 51 points. The teams’ championship is led by iSport with 89 points, from Campos, who move into second place with 82 points. Racing Engineering are in third position with 79 points.

Quote from Hirohide Hamashima – Bridgestone, Director of Motorsport Tyre Development “Spa Francorchamps is a very challenging circuit. After the first corner there is a high speed section downhill and then it’s very fast through Eau Rouge. In the downhill section at turn eleven, drivers need to manage their tyres well as the front right tyres will be worked hard due to the combination of the speeds and the additional loading from running downhill. It is also a very difficult circuit in terms of the weather because it is in a mountainous region. It is a very long track and, according to our experience, it can rain on some sections of the circuit but at the same time not on others. In addition, it dries out very slowly because of the locality and conditions. Once it starts raining, pit stop strategies become very important as teams have to carefully time when they change from dry to wet or wet to dry tyres.”

Stats & Facts

Number & Spec of tyres for Spa Francorchamps: 760 (medium dry & wets)Pole position time 2007: 1m 56.885secs – N Lapierre (DAMS)Fastest race lap 2007: 1m 58.572secs – T Glock (iSport) (R1)Top three 2007 race 1: N Lapierre (DAMS), L Filippi (Super Nova), L di Grassi (ART)Top three 2007 race 2: K Chandhok (Durango), A Soucek (DPR), L di Grassi (ART)

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