Fer­rari ju­nior Ilott joins ART for GP3

Autosport (UK) - - NEWS AND ANALYSIS/PIT + PADDOCK -

NEW FER­RARI DRIVER ACADEMY re­cruit Cal­lum Ilott will race for GP3 pow­er­house ART Grand Prix in 2018.

Ilott, the first Bri­ton to join the Fer­rari scheme, switches from the For­mula 3 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship, in which he fin­ished fourth this sea­son be­fore win­ning the qual­i­fi­ca­tion race for last month’s Ma­cau Grand Prix.

“To­gether with the FDA, we made the de­ci­sion to do GP3 with ART and I’m re­ally happy with this as the first step in our part­ner­ship,” said Ilott (be­low). “ART is a very pro­fes­sional team with a proven track record in GP3 and I’m hugely ex­cited to start work­ing with them. To be se­lected by ART for one of its much-cov­eted seats is a priv­i­lege.”

ART has just se­cured a sev­enth GP3 teams’ ti­tle in the cham­pi­onship’s eight-year his­tory, and took a 1-2-3-4 in the 2017 driv­ers’ stand­ings, which was topped by Mercedes For­mula 1 ju­nior Ge­orge Rus­sell, with Re­nault Academy mem­ber Jack Aitken and Honda pro­tege Nirei Fukuzumi sec­ond and third.

All three are ex­pected to grad­u­ate to For­mula 2 for 2018. Rus­sell and Aitken are tipped to form the ART line-up, and took part in all three days of last week’s Abu Dhabi test with the team. Fukuzumi drove with Arden, where he looks very likely to race next sea­son.

Alexan­der Al­bon, who drove for ART in F2 this sea­son, topped the run­ning at Yas Ma­rina with DAMS, edg­ing Nor­man Nato in the fi­nal ses­sion by 0.005 sec­onds. Louis Dele­traz (MP Mo­tor­sport) and Ar­jun Maini (Rus­sian Time) headed two ses­sions apiece, with Lando Nor­ris (Cam­pos Rac­ing) top­ping the other pe­riod. Aitken set the fastest rookie time over the three days.

MP Mo­tor­sport, which has taken over the DAMS GP3 en­try ahead of 2018, topped all three days of the third-tier cat­e­gory’s test. Out­go­ing Red Bull ju­nior Niko Kari was fastest on the open­ing two days, with Ma­cau Grand Prix star Fer­di­nand Hab­s­burg quick­est on the last. The pair also set the fastest two times over­all. ART duo Ilott and Jake Hughes, as well as Cam­pos Rac­ing’s Leonardo Pul­cini, also emerged as ses­sion top­pers over the test.

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