DAMS has signed Formula Renault 2.0 front-runner Norman Nato to race for its Formula Renault 3.5 team in 2013.
The Frenchman, who finished second in the FR 2.0 ALPS series and fourth in the Eurocup this year, drove for DAMS, Tech 1 and Arden Caterham in FR3.5 post-season testing. He set the fifth-fastest time overall with DAMS at last week's Aragon test, and he said that the French team was the perfect place to make the step up.
"I'm obviously very happy to join DAMS and I'd like to thank them for putting their confidence in me," said Nato. "The squad has won a raft of titles in different categories and for me it's the best package possible in FR3.5.
"I'm happy with the November tests; I adapted well and lapped consistently in the top six. Like any driver I race to win and I'm going to try to do that. Realistically speaking, however, I'm going to concentrate on learning and do my best to improve as quickly as possible."
Team boss Jean-Paul Driot believes the 20-year-old is capable of fighting at the front in his rookie season.
"It's a pleasure to give a chance to a new, young French coming man in our team," said Driot. "Norman's test in our car was very convincing as much by his times as by his overall approach to racing with the engineers and the team. We're delighted to entrust him with a drive for next season, and I'm certain he'll be among the front-runners."