Conor Daly Ready For Second Season In GP3

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Second generation driver Conor Daly, son of Derek and Beth, is embarking on his sophomore year of GP3 racing as he vies to make his way toward Formula One.

Last year Daly spent time racing in both GP3 and in the Firestone Indy Lights Championship in the USA; this year he's focused on GP3 for the full season, which means a move to England early next month.

Daly signed to drive with Lotus GP (ART), one of Europe's more successful teams. "I will be able to learn a lot from them because of all the success they've had in GP3; the plan is to continue helping the team achieve success," he said.

While he's getting used to a new engineer and preparing for the coming season with the final GP3 test slated for April 11-12 at England's Silverstone road course, Daly has been "hanging around the top five at every test, and when I look back to what I was doing last year at this time, it's incredible to see the progress. I am much more confident entering this season."

Daly has already completed four test days with his new Lotus GP team and appreciates the team's overwhelming experience. "I've been extremely happy with how things have gone; we will use the last two test days to really focus on fine tuning my driving to the car and getting a good understanding of what kind of balance we need for the first qualifying session in Barcelona," he confided.

Racing in Europe is very different from the atmosphere in the United States, where Conor Daly began his career. While it's not the most friendly community, "I didn't get involved in racing to make friends," Daly stated. "I hope to experience some more competitive clean racing again this season. In Europe, fans can't get anywhere and heck, the drivers below F1 can barely get anywhere in the paddock. The American racing world is definitely different but I think the competition in both areas of the world is fairly equal."

Daly is centered on winning the GP3 championship in 2012. "It's all down to me, really, as we're with the best team and I'm so much more confident entering this season than I was last season. A lot of the unknowns about racing in Europe are now eliminated." He's working with a team that's based in France, and Daly is living in England, just a short flight to the team's headquarters and most of the races. As for the language difference, "I just remember to speak slowly so they can understand," he said.

The Lotus F1, GP2 and GP3 teams all have similar black-and-gold branding for 2012; the GP2 team is headquartered at the same building as his GP3 team, "So we definitely have access to help from them," Daly said. "I'm not sure about the F1 team but I'm sure we will be able to get bits of information from them as the season goes on."

Daly might come back to race in the States during the month of August when GP3 is on holiday. At any rate, he's keeping track of last year's Firestone Indy Lights champion Josef Newgarden and following Newgarden's ascension to the IZOD IndyCar Series. "It's really cool to see him in INDYCAR and not only see him in the car but see him do well. I was pretty jealous watching him at the first race in St Petersburg but I kept reminding myself that I'm in an incredible position this year in Europe and I just can't wait to keep pursuing my dream of getting to Formula 1."

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