R-ace GP becomes the ART Junior Team

The R-ace GP team founded in 2011 by Thibaut de Mérindol and Cyril Comte has taken on a new dimension and strengthened its collaboration with ART Grand Prix. By entering under the ART Junior Team moniker in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and NEC (North European Cup) Championships, R-ace GP intends to participate in the development of Frédéric Vasseur’s and Nicolas Todt’s ART coaching programme.

Thibaut de Mérindol, team manager: “It’s a big step forward for our team in keeping with the work we’ve carried out over the last two seasons with ART Grand Prix. Our aim is to offer our drivers, engineers and mechanics the opportunity to progress in the context of a ladder from karts to the doors of Formula 1.

“ART’s objective is to train tomorrow’s best professional drivers and our mission in this area is very clear: help kart drivers in their first steps in motor racing and train them to race at the topmost level in the international single-seater championships. Above and beyond driving techniques and understanding how a car functions, training must include methods of how to work in a team as well as managing what’s at stake in the race itself.”

After finishing the 2012 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup in fifth place with three debutants, the team’s aiming to make a big step up the hierarchy by entering two experienced drivers alongside a very promising debutant.

“The arrival of Esteban Ocon – a Lotus F1 Junior Team driver – alongside Andrea Pizzitola means that we can count on a couple of quick experienced drivers to fight at the front right from the start,” states de Mérindol. “We’re also expecting a lot from Alex Baron, who dominated the Auto Sport Academy Championship in 2012, and who is backed by All Road Management. We’re counting on him to keep the honorary title of best rookie that we won last year.”

The ART Junior Team is also entered in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC Championship with two more drivers: Tanart Sathienthirakul and Nicolas Jamin. “In keeping with the spirit of the ARTcoaching programme this championship is the ideal place to train young drivers who come from karts or F4 with a view to entering them in the Eurocup the following season. In addition to the seven meetings and eighteen races on the calendar we’re going to organize a big test programme to help Tanart and Nicolas improve rapidly.”

The 2013 season is also marked by the arrival of a new Formula Renault 2.0. This additional challenge is whetting the appetite of the ART Junior Team: “The car’s just fantastic,” smiles Cyril Comte, the technical director. “Renault Sport Technologies and Tatuus have done a great job and we’ve already noticed a net improvement in the build quality. Our technical team can’t wait to run this car; it’s always enriching and stimulating to get to grips with a new machine. Our drivers, engineers and mechanics are going to have to work in a methodical fashion to find the best compromises between driving and chassis setup.”

The ART Junior Team didn’t have to champ at the bit much longer as collective testing started again at Motorland Aragon this Sunday. Things went well for ART Junior Team, as Esteban Ocon set the fastest time of the day. The preparations will continue tomorrow on the Spanish circuit.

Esteban Ocon (Lotus F1 Junior Team)
Nationality: French
Date of birth: 17/09/1996 (16 years old)
2012 results: 12th Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup

Andrea Pizzitola
Nationality: French
Date of birth: 19/06/1992 (20 years old)
2012 results: 21th Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup

Alex Baron (All Road Management)
Nationality: Franco-British
Date of birth: 06/12/1994 (18 years old)
2012 results: French F4 Champion

Tanart Sathienthirakul
Nationality: Thai
Date of birth: 29/11/1992 (20 years old)
2012 results: 27th Formula Renault 2.0 NEC

Nicolas Jamin
Nationality: French
Date of birth: 05/12/1995 (17 years old)
2012 results: 7th French F4 Championship

2013 calendars
Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0
27-28/04: Motorland Aragon (Spain)
1-2/06: Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
22-23/06: Moscow Raceway (Russia)
20-21/07: Red Bull Ring (Austria)
14-15/09: Hungaroring (Hungary)
28-29/09: Paul Ricard (France)
19-20/10: Circuit de Catalunya (Spain)

Formula Renault 2.0 NEC
6-7/04: Hockenheim (Germany)
20-21/04: Nürburgring (Germany)
1-2/06: Silverstone (England)
27-28/07: Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
3-4/08: Assen (Netherlands)
31/08-1/09: Most (Czech Republic)
12-13/10: Zandvoort (Netherlands)