New Zealand Grand Prix champion Nick Cassidy has gained a test drive in the GP3 class in Europe.
The 18-year-old Aucklander will get behind the wheel at the testing Estoril circuit in Portugal tomorrow, two weeks after he won the New Zealand Grand Prix to wrap up the International Toyota Racing Series at Manfeild for the second year running.
Cassidy will test for the Marussia Manor Racing team - the British-based outfit that also competes in Formula 1 with drivers Luiz Razia and Max Chilton.
Cassidy is out to follow in the footsteps of fellow Aucklander Mitch Evans who won the GP3 driver's title last year and has moved up a grade to GP2.
The Portuguese testing is the first opportunity for drivers to experience the second-generation GP3 car. Development tests have shown the new car is around three seconds faster than the previous model. It has a new look with a revised nose, sidepods and engine cover. Power has been increased from 280hp to 400hp with a new 3.4-litre six cylinder engine.
In the first two days of testing at Estoril, Marussia Manor have run British driver Dino Zamparelli who has already been confirmed with the team for a full GP3 season. They have also tested with Cypriot driver Tio Ellinas and Italian female driver Vicky Piria.
Ellinas recorded third fastest overall in both the Wednesday and Thursday test sessions. Cassidy will take over his car for the two test sessions tomorrow, running alongside Zamparelli and Piria.
The GP3 teams will have a further two days of testing at Barcelona in Spain on March 12-13.
The eight-round seasons begins at the Spanish Grand Prix between May 10-12.
- © Fairfax NZ News