The GP3 Series is switching to a more powerful 400hp engine for the 2013 season.
Since its inaugural season in 2010, GP3 has used a two-liter turbocharged engine producing 280bhp. The move will shift the category's focus from the bottom of the European open-wheel ladder to above Formula 3.
The current Dallara GP3/10 chassis will again be used, but with revisions to its nose, sidepods and engine cover.
"When we started to think about our next-generation car, we based our design on what has made the series a success since its inception, which was a low-cost machine that best prepared the drivers for GP2 with a high level of downforce and the same kind of tires as GP2 and F1," said series CEO Bruno Michel. "But we also added two major parameters: we want our car to be more powerful and more selective in order to make it an even better learning tool for young drivers who wish to graduate to GP2 and then to F1.
"To achieve this, we have thus opted for a naturally aspirated 400hp engine which will make the drivers gain three to four seconds per lap on average, but we have also decided to redesign part of the car such as the nose, the sidepods and the engine cover, of course. We will also focus on working a lot with Pirelli in order to make the GP3 tires closer to the ones used in GP2 and in F1."
Michel added that cost was a primary concern as far as the changes to the car are concerned, which was why an all-new chassis was not required.
"The costs will be quite similar to the ones today, but this new car will be much more selective and powerful. The modifications on the car will be implemented in the form of an upgrade kit in order to save the teams from purchasing a brand-new chassis, thus being cost effective.
Michel confirmed that his series would now tender for nine teams to fill its ranks next season.
"We will also keep nine teams and a maximum of 27 cars on the grid," he said. "We feel like 30 cars was too many and this season, we can see that 27 is a perfect number for our series. Teams who wish to gain entry for the next three years are welcome to send us an application from today."