GP3: Pal Varhaug quickest in final pre-season test

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Norway’s Pal Varhaug finished fastest on the final day of pre-season testing ahead of the start of the new GP3 Series season in two weeks’ time.

Two steps down from Formula 1 on the single seater ladder, GP3 has produced a number of top line drivers since its first season in 2010, including Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat.

The series enters its sixth season of racing in 2015, and plays host to a number of leading junior drivers including Antonio Fuoco, Jann Mardenborough, Marvin Kirchhofer and Esteban Ocon.

However, it was Varhaug – the winner of the very first GP3 race back in 2010 – that set the pace across the two-day test in Barcelona, posting a fastest lap time of 1:34.687.

Mardenborough topped day one, but was only fast enough to finish second in the overall timesheets, three-tenths of a second down on Varhaug. Luca Ghiotto finished third, a further one-tenth of a second back.

You can see the complete standings from the days of testing here:

Day 1 Morning
Day 1 Afternoon
Day 2 Morning
Day 2 Afternoon

The new GP3 season kicks off in support of the Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, joining GP2 on the F1 undercard for the weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time

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For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

MORE: Designs for SuperMotocross finals at zMax Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway

Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.