James Calado will switch to GP3 next season with inaugural championship-winning team ART.
The French team, which ran new Sauber test and reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez to this year's GP3 title, has signed British F3 runner-up Calado to lead its 2011 assault. The 21-year-old Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver, who wrapped up his rookie F3 season with a dominant win in the wet at Brands Hatch on Sunday will visit the French squad for the first time early next month.
Calado has been rewarded with the RSF-backed ART drive following a season in which he claimed five victories en route to the runner-up spot in the British F3 championship, behind Carlin teammate Jean-Eric Vergne.
The tie-up with ART is a new departure for the RSF, a benevolent foundation set up to support and mentor promising British racing talent. Since its inception in 2007, the foundation has worked only with British teams Carlin, Fortec and iSport in single-seater racing.
"It's fantastic to be joining such a strong team as ART," said Calado. "They've won the inaugural GP3 series and are very strong in GP2 and the F3 Euro Series as well.
"To be joining a championship-winning squad is what every driver wants. So, to have the opportunity to do that, and to race in such a high profile series in front of F1's movers and shakers, is a dream come true."
ART boss Frederic Vasseur is hopeful Calado will be able to continue his team's success in GP3.
"We've kept a close eye on James over the past couple of years, as we do with all promising drivers, and are confident he has all the qualities and ambition to succeed in GP3," said Vasseur. "We've won the inaugural championship with Esteban Gutierrez and to repeat that success by taking James to his first single-seater title would be fantastic for us and for him."