How winners are decided in GP3?

09.05.2013

Well, what a stupid question! Everybody and his dog knows that the first driver who arrives to the chequered flag is the winner.

This fundamental concept is obviously valid in GP3 like everywhere else. But still there are several tweaks in the system how champion is decided (other than the driver with most points will take the title).

First of all – GP3 is a very clear-cut championship. There are nine teams, each with three – not with two like in F1 or GP2 or with god-only-knows-how-many as in some lower formulae – cars. Cars, of course, are identical for everybody (read here).

GP3 Series calendar consists of eight racing meetings all of which bar two are a part of European F1 Grands Prix. First exception is a dedicated GP3 meeting on June 15-16 in Valencia – at a permanent venue of Circuit Ricardo Tormo, not a former F1 track in the city harbor area – when GP circus is returning home from Canada. Then, almost two looong months after European season ends at Monza in September, GP3 Series travels to Abu Dhabi for its final event of the year. And unlike previous years GP3 doesn’t race at Monte Carlo in 2013 (Kevin: „What a shame! I have raced two times there and gathered a lots of experience – all to no avail.“)

Every racing weekend has three competitive on-track sessions – qualification practice and two races. Yes, there is only one 30-minute qualification session, which is usually held on Saturday morning. As all 27 drivers try to make their one crucial fast lap during that half an hour, fireworks are expected. Fastest driver takes pole position and earns four points to his (her) tally so there is a big difference between P1 and P2. Quali also decides the starting grid for race 1, which usually takes place at 17:20 (CET) on Saturday afternoon, after F1 qualification and GP2 race.

Races usually last about 30 minutes. Top 10 drivers from race 1 are awarded with points using F1 system (25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1) with extra two points for the fastest lap of the race.

P8 can also be extremely valuable as Race 2 grid is formed by reversing Top 8 from race 1. That said, race 2 is also a little less fruitful with only Top 8 finishers scoring points (15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1). Plus again the driver with the fastest lap gets two extra points. Race 2 usually takes start at 9:25 on Sunday morning.

All in all if a driver can take a pole and win both races with fastest laps on both occassions, he or she can earn 48 points per weekend.

How can you follow GP3? Series has its dedicated website www.gp3series.com which features a live timing window. GP3 also has its own Facebook page. Unfortunately, as GP3 stands at the lower end of F1 foodchain, all races can’t be seen live Euro-wide (check the F1 broadcater for your country, in some cases they dare to show GP3 live as well). For example, Race 1 from Barcelona is broadcasted by Eurosport2 delayed at 19:00 (CET) on Saturday and by Eurosport at 9:00 on Sunday morning. The latter program is followed by live broadcast of Race 2.

But things get serious pretty soon – first practice at Barcelona starts tomorrow, May 10, at 17:50 CET.

And here's how it continues:

1

May 11

Catalunya 1

2

May 12

Catalunya 2

3

June 15

Valencia 1

4

June 16

Valencia 2

5

June 29

Silverstone 1

6

June 30

Silverstone 2

7

July 6

Nürburgring 1

8

July 7

Nürburgring 2

9

July 27

Hungaroring 1

10

July 28

Hungaroring 2

11

August 24

Spa 1

12

August 25

Spa 2

13

September 7

Monza 1

14

September 8

Monza 2

15

November 2

Yas Marina 1

16

November 3

Yas Marina 2

 

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