Mitch Evans eyes move up to GP2 series
Mitch Evans continues to live his life in the fast lane with the young Kiwi driver heading back to Europe next week for GP2 test drives he hopes will help land him a deal for next year.
The 18-year-old faced a large media contingent in Auckland today, reliving his superb season that saw him crowned GP3 champion for 2012 and talking of how he hopes to make the jump to the next level which operates just below his Formula One dream.
He has only been home for just over a week and now he's back to Europe for a six-week spell that will be crucial to his career.
Evans will undergo two demanding tests in the more powerful GP2 car in Spain on October 30-31 and a month later on November 22-23.
It's an exciting time for him.
"They are a lot faster and a lot more physical to drive, so I'm going to get a fair idea of what the GP2 cars are all about," Evans said.
First he has one last assignment with the GP3. As the reigning champion he has been invited to test drive the new-look cars that will be introduced next year. They have had their power increased and are set to clock around 3s faster than the current model.
Evans will undertake two days of testing in France on October 22-23.
"It's an honour and I'm looking forward to getting into the new car and giving them some feedback on it."
As GP3 champion he has to move on under the championship rules and Evans believes he is ready for that.
The biggest hurdle won't be his ability, rather the funding required. He has to come up with a round $3m to get a drive. He won $400,000 with his GP3 title with the prizemoney dependent on him moving up a grade.
"Those sorts of figures are kind of daunting of a young guy. But I have great people around me," he said.
His principle New Zealand backer is Sir Colin Giltrap who remains committed to trying to progress Evans.
Contacts are being made on a global scale to try to find the additional funding to make the GP2 drive a reality.
Evans is in talks with Arden, whom he drove for this year under the Mark Webber banner, about stepping up and he will do his test drives with them.
He also has the current GP2 champions DAMS team interested in his services.
"I think my age and level is perfect for this situation," Evans said.
"The trend is to do two years - a learning year and than have a good crack at the championship the following year."
That's how it panned out for him in GP3, now he's out to try to repeat the success at GP2.