Red Bull Junior Lynn hoping to get off to a flyer in GP3 testing

Alex Lynn

Alex Lynn - Credit: Archant

Dunmow race ace Alex Lynn will make his debut as a Red Bull Junior driver in the first GP3 pre-season test this week.

The Dunmow driver will be racing in GP3 this season.

The Dunmow driver will be racing in GP3 this season. - Credit: Archant

The reigning Formula One world champions are well-known for developing up-and-coming talents through their prestigious young driver scheme.

Lynn is the latest in a long line of prodigious talents to be enrolled on a programme which can count four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat as F1 graduates.

Testing for the GP3 championship gets underway in Estoril, Portugal, tomorrow (Thursday) with 20-year-old Lynn hoping to be a frontrunner with his new Carlin team.

“I don’t remember feeling this excited about getting a championship underway for a long time,” the Dunmow driver said.

“I just can’t wait to get started. It’s a new team and a new championship for me, with a very exciting new car. And of course, it’s my first outing with Red Bull – a massive opportunity that I fully intend to make the most of.”

Lynn is fresh off a stellar season in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship which culminated in him triumphing in the legendary end-of-year Macau Grand Prix.

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The 20-year-old, who claimed victory on the 30th anniversary of Ayrton Senna’s famous win, became the first British driver to stand on the top step of the podium at the event since 2007.

The GP3 car that he steps up to this year is a very different proposition. With 400 horsepower, it aims to prepare drivers for GP2, or even directly for Formula One.

“I think people sometimes underestimate just how fast these cars are – they give you everything you need to prepare yourself for the very top level,” added Lynn.

“To me, it’s no great surprise that rookie drivers have done very well in Formula One – this is what it’s all aimed at.

“But of course I think my experience in Formula 3 will help me too. They are very engineering-led cars, and the key thing in GP3 is to find the right set-up and feel confident in pushing straight away.”

With just one 45-minute free practice before qualifying at every round, finding a good feeling with the car in pre-season testing is vital – and this is what Lynn aims to concentrate on in Portugal throughout Thursday and Friday.

“Of course it’s great if you find yourself at the top of the time sheets, but that’s not necessarily the priority,” the Dumow man said.

“It’s more a question of getting used to working with the team and the car, and developing a feel for the pace. Luckily Carlin’s reputation speaks for itself and I already feel completely integrated into the team.

“But we’re certainly not underestimating the challenge ahead – we’re up against some very talented and experienced drivers, including some people who entering their third year of the championship. So we need to be clever as well.”

Estoril is a tight and technical circuit with 13 challenging corners, making it an ideal test venue.

It was the home of the Portuguese Grand Prix up to 1996, witnessing several moments of motorsport history, such as Niki Lauda’s third and final championship win, by half a point, in 1984.

Following the Estoril test, there are two more two-day GP3 test sessions during April, in Jerez and Barcelona, before the nine-round championship gets underway alongside the F1 Spanish Grand Prix from May 9-11.