GP3 Series - News

DAMS sign Ferrucci, Calderon and Baptista for assault on 2017 GP3 Series

28/02/2017 - DAMS sign Ferrucci, Calderon and Baptista for assault on 2017 GP3 Series

DAMS have selected a strong line-up for the 2017 GP3 Series, with Santino Ferrucci, Tatiana Calderon and rookie Bruno Baptista chosen to build on the French team's impressive debut season and challenge for regular race wins.

Jean-Paul Driot's squad confirmed their potential by claiming two victories, five podiums and one pole position during their maiden GP3 campaign, including a front-row lockout and a second place finish on their debut weekend in Barcelona.

With two of the three drivers in Formula 1 development roles, the Le Mans-based outfit boasts a high-quality line-up, as they target further success.

Continuing as Haas F1 Team development driver Ferrucci, 18, also returns to DAMS for his second season after a promising debut campaign.

The American proved his potential with an impressive podium at Spa-Francorchamps and had his first taste of F1 after testing for Haas in Silverstone last year.

Like Ferrucci, this will be Calderon's second season in GP3. Now a Sauber F1 Team development driver, the Colombian showed great race pace last year and became the highest-scoring female in the GP3 Series' history.

The 23-year-old finished as runner-up in the 2015-16 MRF Challenge, claiming several podiums including a race win, and placed inside the top 10 of last season's Euroformula Open despite only taking part in selected rounds.

Meanwhile, Baptista steps up to the GP3 Series from Formula Renault 2.0, and, like Calderon, showed promising speed during the Abu Dhabi test with the team last year.

After graduating from karting, the 19-year-old Brazilian won the 2014 Formula 4 Sudamericana championship and, in 2016, was a consistent top-10 finisher in the highly competitive Toyota Racing Series.

 

Jean-Paul Driot: "2016 was our first year in GP3 and we achieved some very strong results, confirming our potential and improving throughout the season. We are delighted to have such a strong line-up this year. Santino showed incredible pace during his first season and we gained vital experience that will see us regularly fight for wins this year. We have known Tatiana for some time and followed her progress throughout 2016. She's very focused and dedicated, so we are confident of achieving some good results together. Bruno will be the rookie in the team, this will be a good chance for him to learn from the team's experience. He performed very well in the test and I'm sure he will be competitive from the start."

Santino Ferrucci: "The aim for this year will be to consistently finish in the top five and to be challenging for race wins. The team worked extremely hard last year and to get those victories was a great accomplishment, so we have a good foundation to build on. I'm looking forward to getting back out there and giving my all for this fantastic team. I'm also delighted to be working with both Tatiana, who I know well from my time racing in America, and Bruno."

Tatiana Calderon: "I've tested for DAMS on two occasions now and have always liked the way they work. They really care about drivers and make you feel comfortable, whilst pushing you to your absolute limit. DAMS run a very professional operation and it the perfect place for me to continue my motorsport career. My race pace from last year was good and to be finishing in the top ten at every race is the goal. "

Bruno Baptista: "My aim for this year is to show my potential and score a few podiums. There's a winning mentality within the team and I'm feeling confident about the year ahead. DAMS are well known for their commitment and professionalism, which is what attracted me. I can't wait to get going."

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DAMS - GP3 Series, Round 9, Abu Dhabi

29/11/2016 - DAMS - GP3 Series, Round 9, Abu Dhabi

DAMS signs off rookie GP3 season with Abu Dhabi win

DAMS ended their maiden GP3 Series campaign with a stunning victory in Abu Dhabi, round nine of the 2016 season (November 25-27), as Jake Hughes battled back heroically from a pitlane start to claim the winner's trophy. 

British racer Hughes was forced to start race one from the pitlane after race control ruled on an unsafe release from the pits during qualifying, and sensationally carved through the field to finish seventh.
That result gave the BRDC Superstar a front-row start on the race two reversed grid, which became the lead at the first corner. The 22-year-old Briton built a commanding lead and deservedly took the second victory of his rookie season and also the second for Le Mans-based DAMS.

All three DAMS drivers performed impressively at the Yas Marina Circuit. Swiss rookie Kevin Joerg started eighth and ran strongly throughout to come home a career-best fourth.

The Renault Sport Academy driver added eighth place on Sunday, impressively holding off new champion Charles Leclerc to round off his best weekend of the season.

American Santino Ferrucci put in a career-best qualifying performance to line up sixth for race one. The Haas F1 Development Driver was in contention for a second podium of 2016 when he was penalised for an on-track incident with Leclerc, which dropped him to ninth.

After just missing out on the reverse-grid pole Ferrucci was then hit and suffered an unfortunate puncture, dropping him to the back of the field, before battling his way back through to 15th.

DAMS collected 36 points - their season-best total of 2016 - in Abu Dhabi, elevating the Le Mans-based outfit to fourth in the end-of-year teams' standings. Hughes' win helped him climb to eighth in the Drivers' Championship, with Ferrucci 12th and Joerg 14th.


DAMS will stay in the UAE as the GP3 Series hosts three end-of-season test days (November 30-December 2), for which drivers will be announced shortly.


Jake Hughes, P7/P1: "The weekend started out very promising, the car performed well on the hard tyres and Santino proved we were also quick on the super-softs. I felt really good going into qualifying and remained positive, despite the unfortunate happenings and I think that's what spurred me on for the rest of the weekend. Going from the pitlane to seventh in the Feature Race was amazing and it put me in a great position for the Sprint, where I was able to finish the season with a win. It's fantastic for everyone involved, the car felt awesome and I'd like to thank DAMS for this first GP3 season."

Kevin Joerg, P4/P8: "It was a good weekend to finish the season. Qualifying was positive; I managed to line up eighth for race one, which went really well. I gained a few places and felt I produced a clean drive without mistakes, so I was really happy with fourth - my best result in GP3 - and scoring a decent handful of points. On Sunday, I struggled at the start, but still managed to hold on to eighth and score another point."

Santino Ferrucci, P9/P15: "It was a great start to the weekend with fourth in practice then sixth in qualifying, and we did a good job with the car. In race one I was fighting for third, but then unfortunately had contact with Charles [Leclerc]. I think it was a racing incident, but the officials decided to penalise me, which put me ninth and just out of the reversed-grid positions for Sunday's race. I had a good start, but got hit in Turn 5 which gave me a puncture, so I had to come back from that. Overall the team did an excellent job this weekend and it's a nice way to end the year."

François Sicard, Managing Director: "The weekend started well, the cars were competitive with Santino sixth and Kevin eighth in qualifying. We're very sorry for what happened to Jake, he didn't deserve this. All the drivers performed very well in the first race and Santino's penalty was very harsh; ninth place was unjust. Kevin did a great job and of course it was superb for Jake to clinch seventh. Jake's Sprint Race win from start-to-finish is a nice reward for him and the team. Kevin had some good fights and defended very well and Santino showed good pace, but obviously the puncture ended his chances. We have been more consistent in the second half of this season and here we showed that we can challenge for wins, which is promising for 2017. Now we will focus on next year, starting off with the tests later this week."

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DAMS - GP3 Series, Round 8, Malaysia

12/10/2016 - DAMS - GP3 Series, Round 8, Malaysia

Frustrating weekend for DAMS in Malaysia

 

DAMS suffered a frustrating weekend at the penultimate round of the 2016 GP3 Series at Sepang in Malaysia (September 29 - October 2) as a number of incidents beyond their control cost the French squad valuable championship points.

Following podium finishes at the previous two rounds in Belgium and Italy, the Le Mans-based team had high hopes of continuing to climb the championship table.

They were still optimistic despite tyre issues in qualifying restricting Santino Ferrucci, Kevin Joerg and Jake Hughes to P12, P15 and P16 on the race one grid.

Briton Hughes was forced to retire from the opening encounter after being hit hard from behind at the first corner, and then staged a superb fightback from the rear of the race two grid to finish P12.

Renault Sport Academy driver Joerg managed his tyres well in race one, climbing to P12 by the chequered flag and setting the fourth-fastest lap.  The Swiss added P11 spot on Sunday.

Haas F1 Team Development driver Ferrucci had the worst luck of all; the American teenager suffering with standard electronic components on his car that the series' technical support team were unable to fix, leading to his retirement from both races.

 

With just the season finale at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi to go on November 25-27, DAMS are fifth in the teams' championship while Hughes, Ferrucci and Joerg sit P9, P12 and P17 in the drivers' standings.

 

Kevin Joerg, P12/P11: "The weekend started well as I was second fastest in free practice, but we struggled to get our tyres into the optimum working window in qualifying and I started 15th, which made things quite difficult. The pace was pretty good once the tyres switched on and I was able to set the fourth-fastest lap overall and finish P12 in race one. I then finished P11 on Sunday, but following other cars closely around this circuit wasn't easy because of the number of high-speed corners and the downforce you lose. I expected more from the weekend, but I'm sure we can end the season strongly in Abu Dhabi."

 

Jake Hughes, DNF/P12: "I had high hopes coming into this weekend after the speed we'd shown at the past two rounds. We ran new tyres in practice and that perhaps didn't give a true representation of our speed because in qualifying all three cars were outside the top 10. Despite this, I was confident that from 16th on the grid, I could still score points in race one and maybe get a position that would let me benefit from the reversed grid. Unfortunately, I was hit at the first corner and had to retire. In race two I started P21 and finished P12 so I have to be satisfied with that on a track where passing is tough. I'm confident we can end the season strongly in Abu Dhabi."

 

Santino Ferrucci, DNF/DNF, said: "The weekend started pretty strongly with fifth place in practice and I was very happy with the car's balance. But circumstances beyond our control have turned things into a very frustrating experience. After qualifying P14, I had a throttle issue that caused me to retire from the first race and then we had another issue on the pre-grid and had to pull the car into the pits. The mechanics did a fantastic job to fix things in time for me to start from the pitlane, but I then had an issue with the gearbox hydraulics and had to retire again. We have a long gap now to Abu Dhabi and I'm sure DAMS will give me a good car to challenge for strong results there."

 

Francois Sicard, Managing Director, said: "We had hoped for a lot more this weekend, but unfortunately the new track surface at Sepang caused some tyre issues. Jake's weekend was ruined when he was hit from behind at the start of race one and Santino had an issue with one of the standard GP3 electronic parts on his car, which wasn't properly fixed by the series' technical team and caused his retirement on both days. We finish our season in Abu Dhabi at a circuit where we have tested before, which should help us as we look to end our rookie GP3 season on a high."

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