Australian teenager Alex Peroni has had a successful test in a current GP3 Series car as he continues his efforts to compete in next year’s new FIA Formula 3 Championship.
Despite having no previous experience driving the 400 bhp racing car or competing on the Yas Marina Grand Prix circuit in Abu Dhabi, Peroni was among the front runners throughout the three-day test.
It was a sensational effort for the 19-year-old, who was competing against a host of other drivers with 2018 GP3 or Formula 3 experience.
Any doubts about the 2018 Formula Renault Eurocup regular heading into the intense test were put to the side as Peroni posted top-five lap times in two of the six track sessions.
Following the successful test day with Campos Racing, Peroni was thrilled with how it went.
“I was a bit nervous before the first session, driving a car with nearly double the power and more grip than anything I’d been in before, on an unfamiliar circuit,” Peroni revealed.
“The Campos Racing engineers were great though. They let me settle in at my own pace on the first day, so I could push the car to its limits on the second and third days.
“Being fourth and fifth-quickest in two sessions, ahead of the drivers who dominated this year’s Formula Renault Eurocup, was very satisfying. It did a lot to restore my confidence after some difficult Eurocup rounds in the past year.”
Campos Racing team provided a wealth of feedback, making the experience a big learning curve for Peroni.
“They let me settle in at my own pace on the first day, so I could push the car to its limits on the second and third days,” Peroni added.
“What surprised me about the GP3 car wasn’t so much its extra acceleration but the heavy steering through the corners due to the grip of the wider, softer tyres. My arms started getting tired after about eight laps, which is around half the distance of the longer of the two races at a GP3 round.
“The team told me this was normal for drivers who haven’t raced in GP3 or Formula 3 before, so I’ll start work on raising my fitness level further now.”
The successful test now will boost Peroni’s charge for a spot in the FIA’s newest championship, with the Tasmanian now looking for more funding to confirm his year.
“Now that the test is over, I’m focusing on preparing for next year,” he said. “I don’t yet have a full budget for the FIA Formula 3 Championship, but my fundraising team is working flat-out to get me there.
“We welcome new supporters and sponsors who want to come on board for 2019.
“Although worldwide competition for the 30 available entries will be tight for the championship, which will feature on the Formula 1 schedule, I’m confident that with the required funding I can secure a drive and be competitive.
“Thanks to my supporters and sponsors, in particular Blundstone, for making this GP3 test possible. I also welcome Blundstone back as a major sponsor in 2019.”
Published: 5 December, 2018