The next-generation GP3 car was launched at Monza on Thursday, ahead of the season finale weekend.
The new GP3/13 machine, which features a 400hp normally aspirated V6 engine in place of the current 280hp turbo unit, will be used in the Formula 1-supporting series from next season. The hike in power is key to series organizers' aims to improve the effectiveness of GP3 as a preparation series for drivers destined for GP2 and then F1.
"Our main objective was to make sure that GP3 remains the best way to prepare young drivers for the next steps, GP2 and F1, which is why we designed a more powerful and more selective car that, among other things, reduces the gap between GP3 and GP2," said series boss Bruno Michel. "In order to do so, we carefully assessed the different single-seater categories below GP2 and took into account observations from our drivers and teams. We're convinced that the way we've positioned the GP3/13 is the right one for the next three seasons."
Michel was keen to stress that the cost of running the new car will not be excessive, claiming that there will be little or no increase in budgets next season. The GP3/13 uses the same monocoque as the first-generation machine, meaning that teams will only have to upgrade their existing machines.
"The costs will be almost similar to what they were before," said Michel. "That was key. The teams will not have to buy a new car. We will provide them with a development kit.
"It was quite a challenge seeing how the aerodynamics and the engine are different. And speaking of the engine, we go from 280hp to 400hp for the same price."
GP3 plans to announce the nine teams that will compete in the category next year, with a limit of 27 cars on the grid. Michel also confirmed that the format of the calendar will remain unchanged next season, with eight double-headers running in support of F1.
Testing of the new car began in July, with GP2 racer Ben Hanley acting as development driver.