Courtesy Michel Poirier-Defoy
Montreal, October 27th. – Looking to fill the seat left empty by 2005 GP2 champion Nico Rosberg who is heading to Formula One with Williams-Cosworth, ART Grand Prix team has invited Canadian driver Antoine Bessette for a two-day testing session at the circuit Paul-Ricard next December 1st and 2nd. For the 23 year-old driver from St-Bruno, Quebec who won two rounds of the Toyota Formula Atlantic Championship in Toronto and Montreal while finishing third in the standings, this is a unique opportunity to join the GP2 series, Formula One ladder series. GP2 stars as undercard in eleven grand prix weekends out of twelve programs.
“This is an honor to be invited to test with a GP2 team, said Bessette, especially with the 2005 champion team, ART Grand Prix. I know they have a very short list of candidates because they can only test for six days in the off-season. We are presently negotiating and I hope we come to terms for the benefits of both parties. What an exciting opportunity this would be to race in the GP2 series. I feel I can hold my ground after my Atlantic season. I know I can drive at this level.”
ART Grand Prix, the champion team:
In its first GP2 season, ART Grand Prix had two talented drivers with Nico Rosberg and Alexandre Prémat. In the series that replaced Formula 3000, team principals Nicolas Todt and Frédéric Vasseur earned the championship and by the same token put Rosberg in a Formula One seat.
The GP2 racing machine is a Dallara carbon fiber chassis powered by a V8 500+ hp Renault engine, a seven speed gearbox with steering paddle shift, carbon brakes and Bridgestone tires. Each program is a double header totaling 24 races in the calendar.
Antoine Bessette should be the only North-American driver to be invited for these test days. With the test period limited to only six days, guest drivers are selected from a very short list and come from all around the world.
Bessette selection came from a group of experts who felt the Gilles-Villeneuve Award winner filled the criteria for that series.
A two-time winner in Toronto and Montreal in the Toyota Atlantic series and third overall in the standings, Bessette was awarded the most prestigious honor after the series title. The Gilles-Villeneuve Trophy is conferred annually "to the driver who possesses extraordinary ability, has that special "star quality" and who has been distinguished through sportsmanship, dedication and perseverance in the face of disappointment".
Negotiating for 2006:
While there are discussions going on with ART Grand Prix for the December test, Bessette is also considering returning to the new Formula Atlantic series that will debute in April. An announcement will be out when a decision is reached.
Antoine Bessette takes the opportunity to thank the large number of fans who took some time to visit his web site at www.bessetteracing.com .