The first day of the Auto GP promotional test in Magione proved to be a real success. When the sun went down and the engines stopped on the Italian track, a total of 19 drivers had taken the wheel of the Auto GP cars, standing for eight different Countries.
Compared to the entry list issued yesterday morning, Yoshitaka Kuroda was the added driver: the Japanese young gun, who raced in F.Abarth in 2011, was prepared to take part in the test on Friday but due to forecasts predicting some raindrops he preferred to go on track today.
On Thursday the only meteo issue was some fog forcing the organizer to postpone the start of the test by one hour, but apart from this it was a completely trouble-free day, allowing the drivers to enjoy the 550 bhp of the Zytek engine and the professional working method of the Auto GP teams. Here are the impressions of some among the drivers who tested already:Sergio Campana (2011 Italian F3 Champion): “I immediately felt at ease with the car, also thanks to a good feeling with the steering wheel, which was lighter than I expected. Compared to F3 it’s a completely different beast and it’s much more enjoyable, especially thanks to an engine that is very powerful but can still be managed easily with the throttle. I had a great feeling with the Michelin tyres also, even better than the one I had with the tyres we were using in F3 this year”.Alberto Cerqui (2011 Italian Superstars Champion & Rookie of the Year): “It was a really amazing experience and I’d like to say thanks to both Auto GP and Superstars for making it possible. I was really impressed by the car, and frankly that’s what I expected considering that, compared to the BMW M3 I used to drive, this car is half the weight and has nearly 100 bhp more. Everything happens quicker on the Auto GP car, and I was particularly impressed by the braking and by how nimble the car is in the quick direction changes”. Sergey Sirotkin (European F.Abarth Champion): “It was a very interesting test: in some areas of its envelope the car was a surprise, especially under braking, while other aspects were just as I expected, like the acceleration for example. I thought that adapting to it would have been much more difficult considering the big power gap with F.Abarth, but I have to say that thanks to a very good overall balance and mechanical grip I could push hard straight out of the box”.Facundo Regalia: “It was a very good first day for us, the car is a handful and I really had a lot of fun. It’s much more enjoyable than an F3 car, and you have to drive it in a completely different way: with so much power under the belt your cornering speed is not so important anymore, so you have to brake very late into the corner. I already managed to do that, but there’s still room for improvement and we’ll use tomorrow for that”.Matteo Beretta: “I was looking forward to driving the car and I was very happy with it, it really went beyond my expectations. I knew that the Auto GP car has 550 bhp so I was prepared to cope with a very strong acceleration, but despite this my neck was moving and shaking at each gear change”.Brandon Maisano: “Considering that I never drove the car before and that it’s very different from the F3 I was used to I was expecting this test to be a bit difficult, but actually this wasn’t the case at all. The performance of the car is impressive but despite this I could push hard immediately, getting some very good laptimes”. Alon Day: “As a driver you can only love this car because it’s really quick but at the same time it gives you a great amount of feeling, you always know what’s happening and how much grip you have left. On a track like Magione the aero package has little effect but on the other side here you car really feel the mechanical grip. The tyres also feel amazing, I think they are an highlight of this car as much as the engine”.Giancarlo Serenelli: “The Auto GP car is much more ‘wild’ than the 2 litres that I’ drove until today, but I adapted to the car pretty quickly and the laptimes dropped as a consequence. Then in the afternoon I tried to change my driving stile, trying some more angled lines, and times improved again so I’m undoubtedly happy with the outcome of this first day”.Christian Mancinelli: “Compared to the F.Renault I drove in 2011 here everything is impressive, from the engine to the downforce and the braking. This means that obviously you need a little time to cope with this huge differences but thanks to a very good job with the data engineers we immediately found out were we needed to improve and at the end of the day I was really satisfied with my first time with Auto GP”.Yoshitaka Kuroda: “Being my first time on this kind of car I focused mainly on understanding its behaviour and how you have to drive it in order to make the most of its performance. I think I achieved that and after some laps at full speed I really believe that it can be a great learning tool for GP2 or even F1”.