Ralph already perfectly settled in at Koiranen GPAfter a rigorous and productive off-season with his new team Koiranen GP, Ralph Boschung is raring to go for a second GP3 Series campaign.
The young Swiss, 18, made the most of the three official pre-season tests to acclimatise to the front-running Finnish outfit, which has seized six race wins since entering the category in 2013.
Boschung capped his seven days of testing with the third quickest time on the opening day of the final session held at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this week (April 20/21). Such a performance bodes well for the start of the 2016 GP3 Series season, especially given that the home of the Spanish Grand Prix will host this year’s first round on May 13-15.
In addition to consistently producing top-10 times throughout the three tests, Ralph was able to further familiarise himself with the new GP3/16 single-seater introduced this year. Powered by a 1.4-litre V6 engine producing 400bhp, its aerodynamics have been radically overhauled in order to increase overtaking and improve driver safety. The car is still fitted with Pirelli tyres, thus ensuring an ideal breeding ground for young stars on their ascent to Formula 1.
Having ranked as the top Swiss driver in last year’s GP3 Series standings, Boschung will endeavour to progress through the pecking order for his second year in one of the most highly-contested junior championships in the world. With all rounds serving as curtain raisers to a grand prix, the category has been routinely welcoming top F1 teams’ protégés.
In 2016, Ralph will take the fight to the likes of Ferrari Driver Academy members Charles Leclerc, Giuliano Alesi and Antonio Fuoco, as well as McLaren junior Nyck de Vries and Renault Sport Academy’s Jack Aitken. Boschung will also have an excellent benchmark at Koiranen GP in Matthew Parry, who drove for the team last year and won the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award in 2013.
All these up-and-coming drivers will battle it out on nine circuits that feature in the 2016 FIA Formula 1 world championship calendar, including nearly all European rounds, a maiden trip to Malaysia and a classic showdown in Abu Dhabi.
“All three pre-season tests with Koiranen GP have been very positive,” Boschung said. “After seven days of intense preparations, I feel perfectly integrated within the team. We ticked off all the items on our programme and I could continue to get acquainted with the new GP3/16.
“The competition will be very tough again this year in GP3 with a lot of F1-affiliated drivers. I’m confident that my experience from last year, combined with Koiranen GP’s expertise, will enable me to take another step in 2016. I can’t wait for the season to get underway in Barcelona in just three weeks!
“Once again, I would like to extend a warm thanks to the Valais-based building company CP3, Moderntimes Hotel, Platinum Fighter Sales from Los Angeles and my new sponsor PARC. Finally, I’m extremely grateful to the members of 'Club 50' for their unwavering support and loyalty”.
2016 GP3 Series calendar:
1. Barcelona, Spain, May 13-152. Spielberg, Austria, July 1-33. Silverstone, United Kingdom, July 8-104. Budapest, Hungary, July 22-245. Hockenheim, Germany, July 29-316. Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, August 26-287. Monza, Italy, September 2-48. Sepang, Malaysia, September 30-October 2