Louis Delétraz ended his 2016 season on a high yesterday (Friday), posting some impressive lap times during three days of GP2 testing at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.
The 19-year-old wanted to build on his encouraging showing when he raced in the final GP2 round of the season last weekend so he joined the Racing Engineering squad – runners-up in this year’s teams’ championship – for the test.
Louis, who underlined his credentials as one of motorsport’s top young talents when he finished second in this year’s Formula V8 3.5 series, completed 149 laps and drove 826km at Yas Marina during the six individual test sessions.
He set the second fastest time overall on Friday morning and finished inside the top-ten during two of the other 2h 30m sessions to complete a strong few days of competitive action.
“It was a very positive test for us,” the Swiss driver said. “We came here to learn about all the new things that face you in GP2 – especially the Pirelli tyres that work in a different way to what I’ve been used to in other racing categories.
“We started pretty well with some top-ten running and then it was a case of working with the team to make sure I was getting better with the car and my driving technique. That enabled us to get closer to the top. To finish one session in P2 and another in P6 out of more than 20 drivers was a good feeling.
“Of course, you don’t fully know the strategy that everyone else is working to but I think we can be happy with the work we did and the progress we made.”
Louis and the Racing Engineering team worked on various race simulations during the three-day test and he was pleased with the long run lap times he was able to record in a GP2 car that he is till learning.
He said: “It was not only the performance over one lap that we were looking for. We did a lot of race simulations, practice starts and practice pit stops. The simulation of the races was really good and the pace was always strong. There were lots of positives and I learned a lot. Of course, there were some mistakes but that’s why we were here.”
Louis, whose GP2 car was supported by ADS Securities, GP Xtreme, Worldwide Energy and Modena Cars at Yas Marina, believes he has laid some solid foundations for what he hopes will be a full-time GP2 campaign in 2017.
“I would love to be racing in GP2 next year because we have shown over the last three days that we can fight for the top positions and, although it wasn’t the main objective, it was pleasing to see that the speed was there and seems to be good. That’s always good when you’re new to the category,” he explained.
“I must say the ambience in the team was very good as well and I was pleased with how we all worked together. We came here to learn as much as possible and with the help of the Racing Engineering guys we’ve done that.”