Auto GP: Budapest set to host opening round of 6th edition

Auto GP will be soon back on-track for its sixth season continuing an history that began in 2010 with Romain Grosjean as the inaugural champion.

The opening round of 2015 will be on at the Hungaroring, as a support race for the World Touring Car Championship. The 2015 schedule presents 6 rounds, all of them at prestigious venues and with top-quality partnership like WTCC, DRM and Blancpain. The cars are an evolution of the previous ones, based on a Lola-derived chassis and powered by a 550-hp Gibson Technology (ex Zytek) engine. A new aero package is set to be introduced this season with a new front wing, featuring upgraded endplates and flaps, a redesigned floor and an improved rear wing.

The new configuration is expected to produce an average improvement in the region of 1 second per lap. The agreement with ISRA, a company that promoted the Acceleration championship featuring similar cars to Auto GP in 2014, was terminated as the Dutch promoter did not comply with the commitments taken. As a consequence, Enzo Coloni decided to go ahead with his own staff and efforts. In the drivers compartment, former F.1 driver Antonio Pizzonia signed with Austrian team Zele Racing. The Brazilian will line-up alongside Colombian 22-year-old Anders Mendez, from Bogotà. Mendez has previously raced in Europe in Formula Renault and in the German Formula 3 Championship. The third man for Zele will be Luis Sa Silva. An Angolan, Sa Silva is making his return to the Auto GP series. British squad Virtuosi Racing announced 18-year-old Nikita Zlobin, son of former F.1 test-driver and reigning FIA WEC LMP2 Champion Sergey Zlobin. Nikita has also run in F.Renault and German F.3 recently. The British squad will also field experienced Johnny Cecotto Jr. The 25-year-old Venezuelan is coming from a long stint in GP2 after having been a test and reserve driver in F.1 for Toro Rosso. Returning to the field will be Giuseppe Cipriani, a top Italian gentlemen driver who also manages the Ibiza Racing operations.

The new additions include the debut of Paolo Coloni Racing or P.C.R. The Italian squad, managed by the son of the championship promoter, announced Swissman Christof Von Grünigen as their first driver. Another Italian squad, FMS Racing, will be lining up at Budapest managed by Ivone Pinton. Their first move was signing Argentinian Facundo Regalia, a former GP3 and GP2 runner who also raced with Campos Racing in the 2012 Auto GP, ending up seventh. FMS will also line-up Italian youngster Leonardo Pulcini. The 16-year-old Roman left a strong impression in the Italian Formula 4 Championship at his single-seater debut last year.

As the reduction of the scheduled rounds from 7 to 6 provided a decrease in terms of costs, the budget for the full 2015 season will now be around 250.000 euro. The season-opening Race 1 at the Hungaroring will be at 12:35 on Saturday, while the second will be taking place on Sunday at 12:10. Live timing will be available on, while Eurosport will provide live TV coverage.