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GP3 race winner Alexander Sims will stay with Carlin for this weekend’s GP3 race at Monza. Replacing Argentinian Eric Lichtenstein, Sims will join front runner Nick Yelloly and Angolan racer Luis Sa Silva in the penultimate round of the 2013 season.

With Eric Lichtenstein’s contract terminated due to non-payment of outstanding driver fees by Velociudad Driver Management, Sims stays with Carlin after taking a dominant win last time out at Spa, on his racing debut with the team.

It was a strong weekend overall for Carlin, with Yelloly and Sims in the top seven in free practice, demonstrating the technical understanding the Carlin team have of the 2013 GP3 package.

The pair almost made it a double Carlin podium in race two, as Yelloly followed home race winner Sims in a strong fourth place. Team mate Sa Silva meanwhile is consistently posting finishes on the edge of the top ten, with his first points seemingly just round the corner.

This weekend’s event will see the GP3 drivers take to the fastest circuit on the 2013 calendar, at the historic Autodromo di Monza. With few corners and long straights, the circuit usually provides some of the highlights of the season with slip streaming making overtaking a certainty.

Traditionally the final venue on the 2013 calendar, the Italian round will be the last European race weekend of the season before the GP3 drivers make their first visit to Abu Dhabi for the season finale. It was at the Italian circuit last year that Carlin driver Antonio Felix da Costa put in a spirited fight for the drivers’ championship, with some now infamous bump drafting down the start finish straight.

Trevor Carlin said, “Alexander did a fantastic job for us in Spa and is the epitome of a professional racing driver in his ability, feedback and attitude. To see him and Nick pushing each other on was a great help for the team and we have an even better handle on the car now. We head to Monza chasing similar if not better results for them both and Luis.”

GP3 action will kick off with free practice at 17.50 local time on Friday.

Luis Sa SilvaThe final pre-season GP3 Series test has been completed this week following two days of running at a very cold Silverstone. For Carlin drivers Nick Yelloly, Eric Lichtenstein and Luis Sa Silva the test signals the final on-track running before the season gets underway in Barcelona next month.

The cold conditions over the course of the two day test ensured that track running was limited. Despite the cold weather and snow flurries all three Carlin men had a positive test – focusing on learning the 2013 GP3 car, completing practice starts while also simulating qualifying and race runs throughout both days of testing.

Having set the third quickest time in yesterday afternoon’s session Yelloly said, ‘It’s difficult to gauge where you are in such cold conditions because you can’t really feel the grip in the tyres. However yesterday, when it was a little warmer, we had really good qualifying and race pace so I definitely think we’re looking strong for the first round of the season.’

Eric Lichtenstein added, ‘We’ve spent the test continuing to learn. GP3 is a completely different level of car than I’ve driven in the past so with every test it feels as though I’m developing further. It was difficult today because the wind direction kept changing so pinning down the set-up was tough. But we have a lot of great data ready for the first round in Spain and that’s what matters.’

Luis Sa Silva commented, ‘These past two days have been so cold! I’m really not used to this type of weather. The first day of testing was quite difficult for me; I span on my new tyres and then lost a lot of running in the afternoon as a result. The second day was a lot better though; we did a lot of practice starts which all look good, and our race pace is also looking solid. Really, the biggest thing for me to learn has been the tyres because the ones I’ve raced on in the past have gone on and on. However the Pirelli tyres are completely different – you really have to manage them which adds another dimension to a race weekend.’

The first round of the season gets underway 10th-13th May in Barcelona.

Photo by Alastair Staley/GP3 Series Media Service.

Argentinian Eric Lichtenstein is the first driver to be announced in Carlin’s GP3 squad for the 2013 season. The 18 year-old arrives fresh from the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain and has already impressed the team with his performance in official testing in recent weeks.

Lichtenstein has been an impressive force in Formula Ford this season, in only his second season of car racing, having competed in Formula Pilota China last year. The Buenos Aires native is the first young talent to have emerged from the Velociudad Driver Management Program (VDM) and a serious prospect for Formula One. Lichetenstein was the top rookie in the UK Formula Ford EcoBoost Championship in 2012 and took 15 podiums including 11 victories on his way to third in the standings.

With already two official tests completed, Lichtenstein has completed three days testing in the GP3 car. The Formula Ford racer finished his first day in the GP3 car eighth fastest in Jerez, before flying back to the UK for the Formula Ford Festival.

Returning to test in Estoril, Lichtenstein was sixth fastest in the dry and also in the wet. The 18 year-old will now look forward to testing the new generation GP3 car next year.

Speaking about the season ahead and his new team, Eric said, “I’m really excited to be joining Carlin for GP3. I’ve had the chance to complete a few days with the team now and feel like everything fits together really well already. Carlin have a great reputation and it’s exciting to look at their past drivers and make the next step in my career with them. GP3 is a very exciting championship and to race on the F1 support package and with the new, more powerful car from next season is extremely exciting.”

Trevor Carlin added, “We’re very happy about Eric joining us for the 2013 season. He has been so impressive in testing so far. Considering that Eric has made the big step up from Formula Ford, the progress he has made in his first experience in an aero car has been very impressive. He has been very trusting of the downforce and seems to have a natural feel for it. Importantly, he also responds very well to direction and the team have been very impressed with his attitude. I think he could be a real revelation next season.”

Carlin’s race winning GP3 team embark on the first of two post-season GP3 tests this week, as the team head to Jerez in Spain for an official two day test. Fresh from the season finale a little over a month ago, which saw Antonio Felix da Costa fighting for the championship title, Carlin welcome 2012 British Formula Three Champion Jack Harvey to the cockpit as well as Formula Renault BARC runner-up Josh Webster and multiple Formula Ford race winner Eric Lichenstein.

2012 was Carlin’s most successful year in the championship to date taking four wins over the course of the year and finishing third overall in the team championship, Carlin now look ahead to the two day test in Jerez where they will bring two of their three cars to the circuit. British driver Webster will be in the car for the total duration of the test while Lichenstein will drive on the first day before handing over to Harvey for the second.

The 2012 season saw 18 year-old Webster take an impressive five race wins in the Formula Renault BARC on his way to becoming Vice Champion. While Webster has experience of an F3 car following his participation in this year’s Masters of Formula Three at Zandvoort, this will be Webster’s first taste of a GP3 car and also his first visit to Jerez.

The first day of testing will see Formula Ford driver Lichenstein in the second car for his first GP3 experience. 18 year old Lichenstein had a stunning first year competing in the EcoBoost UK Formula Ford Championship. The young Argentinian finished the season as the top rookie and won more races than any other driver, with 11 victories in total.

Taking over from him on the final day of testing will be 2012 British Formula Three Champion Jack Harvey. Harvey’s championship winning season with Carlin saw him take 13 podiums including seven wins to become the team’s fifth consecutive British F3 champion. Having spent the past two seasons with the British squad Harvey already knows the team well and has spent time in the factory since his championship win in preparation for this week’s test.

Looking ahead to the test, Josh Webster said, “It should be a great experience and completely different to the cars I’ve driven before but I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s my first time working with Carlin but I’ve been to the factory and I’m glad to be with an established and experienced team for this test.

“It’s also my first time in Jerez but I’ve been on the simulator to learn the track so I’m confident that I should be able to get to grips with the layout fairly quickly and start concentrating on the car.”

The two day test will span the 24th-25th October.