Formula Renault 3.5 regular Julian Leal will make his GP2 debut with champion team Rapax in the forthcoming Asia series.
The 20-year-old Colombian, who was a race-winner in Auto GP alongside his FR3.5 program last year, has some GP2 experience from testing with Trident Racing in November.
"When I found out that there was a chance to be on-track with Rapax I barely believed it was true," said Leal. "They dominated in 2010, what can I say more? I'm really happy for having had this kind of opportunity and I hope to do well, though I know it won't be easy. There are a lot of drivers with many years of GP2 racing behind their shoulders, but on the other hand my goal is to improve lap by lap."
Leal's deal is currently for the Asia series only, though team boss Andrea Bergamini said Rapax was open to extending their relationship.
"We analyzed Julian's career and found out he got some really good experience in the Auto GP championship and in the World Series Renault," said Bergamini. "Plus, in the first test he entered in a GP2 Series car, he proved able to adapt to a new car quickly, and showed a pretty professional approach.
"Our goal will be to provide him with the best possible chance to increase his experience, which is key in such a competitive environment like the GP2 Series. We're proud to contribute to his professional growth and I believe this will be the start of a long and valuable cooperation."
Rapax has already signed second-year GP2 driver Fabio Leimer for a full season in its other car.