Firestone Indy Lights champion J.R. Hildebrand will drive for Force India in Formula 1's upcoming young driver test at Jerez on Dec. 1-3. Mercedes DTM frontrunner Paul di Resta will also test. Hildebrand is expected to get a full day's running in the sole VJM02 on hand for the test, as the two drivers alternate between morning and afternoon on the first two days.
"I'm ecstatic to get my first taste of F1," said the 21-year-old Californian. "I've heard so much about the performance of the cars and know this is going to be quicker and more responsive than anything I've ever sat in before.
"I know it's a big challenge but I feel ready to tackle it," Hildebrand added. "The aim is to learn the track and the car and then hopefully show my potential. As an American we don't necessarily have the culture of F1, but anything that's so impressive and cutting-edge demands respect. I hope I can do the car and myself justice."
Di Resta, who finished third in this year's DTM and tested for McLaren several times at the end of last year, says he is looking forward to getting back in an F1 car again, adding that he hoped it could lead to a more permanent position within Force India. The 23-year-old Scot is highly rated by Mercedes and was linked to a race seat with its customer Force India team last January, before it chose to stick with Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil for 2009.
"It's been a while since I last tested an F1 car but I've been working hard in the simulator and giving it my all in the DTM so I'm confident I'll be up to speed quickly," he said. "It's an exciting opportunity for me as F1 has always been my dream and I feel this is taking me one step closer to achieving it.
"I'm realistic that I've got a lot to prove and that I need a bit more experience of the cars and the F1 environment before getting a permanent seat but this is just the beginning of what I hope will be a very bright future with Force India."