Formula Star Mazda champion,Conor Daly completed his first two days of GP3 testing in Estoril, Portugal, today with the 10th-fastest time overall. He completed a total of 153 laps with Manor Motorsport over the course of two days in what he says is an "interesting and steep" learning curve.
"The car is very good with a lot of lateral grip in the corners. The biggest issue I have is being able to get the best out of new Pirelli tires," related Daly. "I just can't find that sweet spot on new tire runs yet."
On used tires on day one, Daly was on top of the time sheets for most of Wednesday afternoon's session. The top 18 cars on day two were covered by less than one second. Daly will do a further two days of GP3 testing with the Status Grand Prix team at Jerez, Spain, next Tuesday and Wednesday.
"I knew probably most of the people had been to the testing tracks before – I've been to most of the English tracks but I haven't been to any in Europe, so it's all a new experience for me: a new car, new tracks," Daly added. "I knew it would be tough to get in and go, but I got a lot of experience in the last two years in America and I was able to come over, jump in fairly quickly and get to a certain point, but the last two tenths is what experience in these cars brings. Once i get more experience and figure out how to use the car to its full potential, and work with the tires, that's when I will start to get further up the time sheets."
Daly made it clear that his first choice for 2011 is to race in Europe, despite having spent the past several years making his way up the U.S. open-wheel racing ladder.
"I would love to race in Europe. My ultimate goal is Formula 1, but it's obviously big budgets in Europe so we have to work on that," Daly said. "You have to do European formula racing to get to Formula 1; the Formula 1 paddock doesn't really pay attention to racing in America, so as a driver you need to come over here and hopefully do well and get recognized. That's what I want to do."