America’s Tveter Looks for Victories and Continued Consistency in Sophomore GP3 Season
OYSTER BAY, N.Y., Feb. 17 — Trident made it official yesterday in announcing that Ryan Tveter of Oyster Bay, N.Y. will return to the Italian team for his second season in the GP3 series in 2018.
The 23-year-old American earned three podium finishes, three separate top-five finishes and finished eighth in the driver standings in his rookie GP3 season to help Trident finish second in the team championship.
"We are delighted to have Ryan back on the team for our 2018 GP3 campaign,” said Giacomo Ricci, the team manager, in the team’s press release. “He is a very skillful and precise driver who has a very different background to most drivers in racing at this level. After joining Trident, Ryan found an environment to thrive in and continue to progress with stellar consistency, delivering many great performances and results along the way. To finish on the podium in such a category as GP3 is a huge achievement in and of itself, and Ryan came away with three, along with many other strong points finishes. Following him with the utmost care and providing the strongest car possible to chase his first GP3 win will be our absolute priority. Ryan had a breakthrough season in 2017, and I believe 2018 will be even stronger."
After three pre-season tests, the 2018 GP3 schedule consists of 18 races during nine events from May through November as the series supports Formula 1. The complete schedule is posted on the series’ Web site at GP3series.com.
We asked Tveter the following questions about the challenges he’ll face and his thoughts and goals going into the new season.
Q: What are your main feelings going into your second season of GP3? How confident are you?
A: “I’m feeling more confident than ever heading into my second season with Trident in GP3. 2017 was a breakthrough season for me and we achieved some fantastic results and had great consistency throughout, but narrowly missed out on taking my first win on a couple occasions. Chasing that first win is my highest priority and with the experience and learning we gained I feel we’ll be in contention from the beginning.”
Q: Why Trident?
A: “As soon as I visited Trident and got to know the guys before the first test in Abu Dhabi at the end of 2016, I really felt at home. The team has an extremely professional approach and a very organized workflow, but most importantly it’s an extremely supportive environment and I felt that from the beginning. Our approaches meshed well and as a Trident driver you really feel supported by everyone on the team and can tell that everyone wants to do well. Having that support and confidence in the team really makes a difference in how you drive and how you extract the most out of the car. Of course, and most importantly, the car is very fast too!”
Q: Will you have the same engineer and mechanics?
A: “Going into 2018, I’ll be working with the same engineer and mechanics I had last season, which is great. We all get along so well and have great relationships on and off the track, so there was no reason to change.”
Q: What have you been doing in the off-season to prepare?
A: “After such a successful final round in Abu Dhabi I decided to take a little break and went to visit some friends in the Philippines and then went back to New York for the holidays. I think taking some time off to see friends and enjoy time relaxing at home is an extremely important part of the off-season, so I really enjoyed that, but of course kept up with my physical training routine as well.”
Q: What events on the schedule are you looking forward to the most?
A: “Every time you get to drive a GP3 car is a special event, but I’m really looking forward to going back to Spa, Silverstone, and also really excited to go to Russia for the penultimate round in Sochi. I haven’t driven there yet, but I had a great experience the last time I raced in Russia back in 2014 and it’s always exciting to get to grips with a track you haven’t driven before. Sochi is also the closest thing to a street circuit that we go to, so that will be an exciting challenge.”
Q: What is your primary goal for 2018?
A: “My primary goal for 2018 is to maintain the consistency we had last year and really try to be on the podium at every round. I think that’s a realistic target, but I’m also looking to take my first victory. I came so close to doing that last year! My sights are on the championship title and consistency is the key component of that, but I’m extremely motivated to take that first win sooner rather than later.”
Q: Are there any rules changes for 2018 or changes to the car that will play a role?
A: “Going into 2018, the cars are staying pretty much the same as last year. Unlike Formula 1 and Formula 2, we won’t have a halo cockpit protection system in GP3 this year, which I’m totally fine with, but as far as the regulations go there aren’t really any changes.”
Q: Giuliano Alesi is returning to Trident too. How do you two work together?
A: “Giuliano and I have a great relationship and were very lucky and grateful to share the same sponsor last year. Giuliano is a few years younger than I am, but in terms of racing experience we’re pretty similar. Obviously Giuliano’s dad, Jean, is a very well known ex-F1 driver and they’re both delightful. Off track we’re friends and work together extremely well as teammates sharing a common goal, and on the track we’re fierce competitors, but there’s a lot of mutual respect too.”
Q: Will you still work with the same charities? In what way does your racing program enhance their marketing efforts?
A: “Yes, I’m very proud to continue to support Right To Play, MTV Staying Alive, and The Lessons For Life Foundation in 2018, all of which are great partners and do a lot of work to help better the lives of others, especially children and young adults. Beyond the exposure of their branding on my car, I’m still engaging in fund-raising activities for them and have raised tens of thousands for them, so I’m very happy and proud to continue those relationships.”
Q: What will be one of the main things you’ll try to improve upon this year?
A: “I think the few key areas to improve on for this season are our one-lap qualifying pace, me putting my perfect lap together when it counts in qualifying. We also need to make sure that risk is evaluated properly when it comes to setup and strategy decisions. I wouldn’t say qualifying was a weakness, but I do feel I can improve along with the car to be able to fight for the pole in qualifying and subsequently the podium and more points in the feature race. On the risk and setup decision side, there were a couple times last year where we decided on a riskier setup in practice that hampered us for the whole weekend, and we lost crucial points and even a chance at victory. Definitely taking more time to analyze risk and make sure those decisions are run past management as well is a clear way we can improve our performance and consistency.”
Q: What will it take to win the championship?
A: “Consistency, dedication, and hopefully a few victories.”
Q: The Winter Olympics are occurring now. Since the GP3 series has such an international field, do you feel like you’re representing America on the world stage too?
A: “As far as I know, I will be the only American competing in GP3 this year. It’s an amazing feeling to represent my country on such a global stage and to be doing well in an environment that’s not typically accessible to or dominated by Americans. To stand there on the Formula 1 podium now three times with our flag flying above me was an incredible feeling, but I haven’t been able to hear the Star- Spangled Banner ring out on the loudspeakers yet. When/if that does happen though, I’m sure it will be quite emotional and something I will never forget.”