Portugal's Alvaro Parente will compete for Carlin in this weekend's GP2 race at Valencia alongside 2011 team regular Max Chilton.
Parente, who has race-winning experience in GP2, also has previous experience with Carlin, having clinched the British F3 title with the team in 2005 as well as three wins and six podiums in Formula Renault 3.5.
The 26-year-old has contested the previous two rounds of this year's GP2 championship with Racing Engineering, scoring a podium in the opening race in Monaco and taking a seventh-place result at Barcelona.
Carlin meanwhile has already had two drivers racing alongside Chilton – 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 champion Mikhail Aleshin started the season with the team before Oliver Turvey took over for the Monaco races.
"I'm excited to be back with Carlin," Parente said. "I spent three great years with Trevor and the team from 2004 to 2006 and it's nice to back, so thanks to the team for giving me this opportunity. I'm also really happy to be racing in GP2, it's the category closest to F1 and it's a big challenge for the drivers.
"I must say a big thank you to McLaren, not only for giving me an opportunity in the McLaren MP4-12C GT3, but also for allowing me to race in GP2. I'm extremely happy and very excited about helping Carlin in its first season in the series."
Team boss Trevor Carlin predicted the changes would help the team in Valencia, saying: "We have great respect for Alvaro, and know from experience what a talented and quick racing driver he is.
"We've shown in the last couple of races what we're capable of as a team and, with Max and Alvaro, we're expecting to make further progress this weekend in Valencia."