FIA GP3 - Daly Adapting To GP3 Series
Noblesville, May 24, 2011: MAZDASPEED driver Conor Daly, second-generation formula car racer, heads home this weekend to his native Indiana for some sponsor obligations in Indianapolis, and some reflection.
The talented 19-year-old racer completed all the scheduled laps in an action packed double header weekend taking place on the Circuit de Catalunya this past weekend. The GP3 series shared the race weekend with both the GP2 Series and the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain.
“Spain is a great track and overall the weekend went well. It didn’t translate into the results I would have liked, but we are learning a lot,” comments the GP3 rookie driver. “We were a bit unlucky in qualifying as I didn’t get a good lap in with yellows. I was still struggling with the perfect brake technique, as it’s much different then I am used to. But it is coming together.”
Qualifying would see Daly only able to go 25th quickest, the fastest of the three Carlin cars. Looking to move up the order in race one, Daly had a poor start the result of too much wheel spin off the line. Falling back a few spots, Daly was in full charge mode and made a daring outside pass on his team mate that took him two full corners to finish the move. With the laps running out, Daly crossed the line in 21st place just two-tenths from 20th.
In race two a hairy start saw four cars stall on the grid including one car on row two and one on row three. Having to hit the grass to avoid a contact as cars scattered everywhere, Daly was able to miss the melee that destroyed three cars and brought out the safety car. In crossing the grass to avoid the stalled car Daly did significant damage to the car’s floor and under tray area making the car difficult to drive. Even with damage to the car Daly was looking to fight for positions and complete the race. After 15 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya, Daly brought the car home in 22nd place and on the lead lap.
“I got a great restart but had a pretty tough time getting a tow down the front straight. Even though I got a great exit out of the last chicane I took most of the straight to get alongside someone,” comments Daly. “I tried to brake late but locked a wheel and flat spotted the tire down to the canvas. That gave me a bad vibration for the rest of the race. Frustrating for sure but again, I still think I learned a lot.”
Back on home soil, Daly has returned to the US to take part in several Indy 500 events. Daly, the current Indy Lights points leader, will be on hand to support the Indy Lights field as they run the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 27th. Current commitments and travel schedule did not permit Daly to take part in the prestigious event, part of the Month of May festivities. Daly will also be hosting a sponsor’s dinner taking place on Carburation Day, May 27th. Daly will fly straight to Budapest, Hungary on Sunday evening, immediately after the Indianapolis 500 where he will take part in a two day test session, June 1st-2nd.
Conor Daly, the 2010 Star Mazda Champion is part of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports development program and the Mazda Road to Indy. Daly is sponsored by Doug Mockett Companies, SAS International, ModSpace, CallCap, The College Network and Merchant Services Ltd., with additional support from, Alpinestars, Tom Lange Co., Aria Helmets, St. Vincent Sports Performance, the Derek Daly Academy.
The goal of the GP3 Series is to give young upcoming drivers a chance to develop their driving skills and jump to the next step: GP2. The GP3 Series was designed to keep the GP2 philosophy and its values intact. Since its inception six years ago the GP2 Series has reflected five core values: performance, cost control, entertainment, safety and preparation. These values have remained the guiding principles of the GP3 Series.