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Featured Stoffel Vandoorne returns to ART for 2015 GP2 Series

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by R.J. O'Connell, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. R.J. O'Connell

    R.J. O'Connell
    Premium Member

    Stoffel Vandoorne.jpg
    It was only a matter of time before the news was confirmed, but Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne will indeed return to ART Grand Prix to contest his second season of GP2 Series competition.


    “In the wake of a great season in 2014, I am very happy to continue with ART Grand Prix in GP2," the 22-year-old Vandoorne said on Wednesday. "We showed we are the team to beat and many of our competitors have already pointed to us as their target, it's normal and rather flattering."

    Vandoorne already announced on December 11th via Twitter that he would return to GP2 to contest his second season in the category after finishing as vice-champion to Jolyon Palmer in 2014. Today, it is confirmed that he will continue on with ART as he did last season, as part of their alliance with McLaren Honda - for whom Vandoorne is the highest-ranked prospect in their young driver development programme.

    "I am confident because it will be my second year with a fantastic team that I know well. Apart from the DRS, the regulations won’t change and I now have experience of the circuits, races, pit stops and tire management. The objective is clear: we want to win the title.”

    In his very first GP2 Series race at Bahrain, he won from the front row of the grid - just as he did the year before at Monza in his debut race in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. But then Vandoorne struggled through a stretch of bad luck during most of the early part of the season, failing to score points in seven of the next nine GP2 races - but finishing on the podium in the other two races, the feature rounds at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone. In the second half of the season, however, Vandoorne dominated. He failed to score a point only once in the final twelve races. He won the sprint race at Hungary, the feature races in Monza and Yas Marina, and took feature race pole position in the final four rounds in succession to cap off the best debut season for a GP2 driver
    in half a decade.

    Vandoorne's vice-championship effort was the best championship result for a rookie GP2 driver since current Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg won the 2009 GP2 Series championship as a rookie. Since 2011, when the Dallara GP2/11 chassis and Pirelli P Zero tyres were introduced to GP2, only one other first-year driver has recorded a top five championship finish in the series - James Calado finished fifth in his rookie season in 2012, also driving for ART. Overall, Vandoorne finished the year with 226 points, four victories, four feature race pole positions, and three fastest laps.

    ART Team Manager, Sebastien Philippe, exclaimed: “The results of our first collaboration with Stoffel in GP2 in 2014 speak louder than words! He is part of that breed of naturally talented drivers, who work hard and are brilliant technically. He is instantly able to adapt in a professional context so he can make the most of the car and his colleagues. His personal qualities are also strong with his high ambitions similar to that of ART Grand Prix. After an outstanding first year where he missed out on the title by very little, it makes sense that we continue this partnership in the quest for the title in 2015.”

    Though Vandoorne enters the new year as the odds-on favorite to become GP2 Series champion, he faces stiff competition in the form of DAMS' rookie duo of Pierre Gasly and Alex Lynn, and Ferrari Driver Academy prospect Raffaele Marciello, who will also return to GP2- with all signs indicating a second season at Racing Engineering. These four drivers are all ranked within the top 25 of PaddockScout's Top 50 Drivers of 2014, a ranking of the top Formula One prospects competing in lower categories across the globe. Vandoorne is the highest-ranked of these drivers in 3rd - only behind European Formula 3 Champion Esteban Ocon, and Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen. Lynn was ranked 6th, Gasly was in at 7th, and Marciello ranked 21st. Marco Sorensen, who will return to GP2 this season in addition to his newly-confirmed role at Aston Martin Racing in the World Endurance Championship, was ranked 45th.

    Another championship-contending season for Vandoorne should land the Belgian star squarely in the frame for a 2016 Formula One race seat, where he would aspire to become the nation's first Grand Prix winner in over twenty-five years. He'll serve the 2015 Formula One season as one of three reserve drivers at McLaren Honda, alongside Kevin Magnussen and Oliver Turvey.

    In addition to his successes in real-life single-seater racing, such as his 2012 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship, and vice-championship run in Formula Renault 3.5 the next year, Vandoorne is an avid sim racer and a former competitor in various online events here at RaceDepartment and the prestigious Formula SimRacing Series. Vandoorne competed in five FSR races from 2011 to 2012, with three third-place finishes as his best result. He also won the fourth season of the TouringPro Series' American Touring Car Championship, winning eleven races from fifteen starts, and has a race win in the Virtual V8 Supercars series and two podiums in the Virtual Supertech Series.
     
  2. He also kicked ass in Touring Pro series ATCC season 20??. (can't remember exactly)
    Missing the first two rounds I think he won every other round of that championship.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. R.J. O'Connell

    R.J. O'Connell
    Premium Member

    Thank you so much for letting me know, Tim - I went ahead and tacked that on as well.

    Admittedly, my knowledge of the history of the many, many sim leagues across the globe can be written on the back of a candy wrapper.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    And then being thrown out (and put on probation?) later on.
    Fun to say that I've driven against him online, but both online and in some real life karting events, he came across as... a bit... well. I'm not a fan to put it that way :)
     
  5. wow didn't knew that
    i didn't watch these live but from the youtubechannel
    was he such an unfair racer?!
    but tbh there are racing a few others with suspicious defending and attacking manouvres as well
    (not poining at you here, mr pinkey ;))
     
  6. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    Nah, I think it was more down to not showing up, and not giving any message about it ;)
    The real life moments, it was more down to personality than racing. I can't say anything bad about how he races, he is a very very good racer! :)

    And damn, it is scary when people know my nickname, and I don't know their full name! :O
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. oh, good to know

    yeah simracers regardless of their skilllevel should announce their forfait once enregistered in any league whatsoever
    ill be rooting for you when watching tps vids with my brother next time :thumbsup: