Formula V8 3.5 will become a direct feeder category to the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2017 with a minimum of six of the nine rounds running alongside WEC races.
After losing backing from Renault at the end of the 2015 campaign, the junior category run by RPM Racing will link with WEC for 2017 with at least six rounds alongside the endurance championship.
The six to be confirmed will take Formula V8 3.5 outside of Europe for races in Mexico, Japan and Bahrain as a support class to WEC, with the same being run for the European races at Silverstone, Spa and Nurburgring.
In the agreement between RPM Racing president Jaime Alguersuari and WEC CEO Gerard Neveu, it is hoped the deal will provide young single-seater drivers a clear opportunity to graduate into a higher motorsport category, including LMP1, LMP2 and GT racing as well as other areas of motorsport.
The arrangement has also promised 'affordable costs' for young and aspiring drivers with a step on to the international racing scene and will offer the ultimate prize of a spot in the WEC rookie test at the end of the 2017 campaign to the top three finishers in the Formula V8 3.5 championship.
“Since 1998 this championship has been the path to reach Formula 1 for 25 drivers,” Alguersuari said. “I am pleased to announce that this agreement with the FIA World Endurance Championship is the most exciting project of my professional career.
“Cost control has always been one of my biggest concerns in order to help the drivers, their families and sponsors. I have been always concerned with the development of the drivers' career as well.
“The new series, linked to the FIA WEC, is a historic challenge because a single-seater championship of this level has never before offered such a wide international calendar at an affordable budget.
“Racing in the same major events where official Manufacturer teams from renowned automotive brands such as Toyota, Audi, Porsche as well as Ferrari, Aston Martin, Ford and Corvette are competing in the world's leading endurance championship, will allow our talented drivers to show off their skills in front of a prestigious and knowledgeable audience.”
Neveu adds the WEC paddock will welcome the young Formula V8 3.5 drivers will open arms and hopes the new partnership and build a bridge between single seater junior racing and the WEC.
“This single-seater championship has demonstrated for many years how very appealing and exciting it can be, while at the same time providing many great champions,” Neveu said. “It make sense to offer to the new generation of drivers access to a well-established championship such as the FIA WEC.
“The fact that the champions will have an opportunity to take part in the WEC's official rookie test at the end of the season will be additional motivation and a target for everyone on the grid.”
The 2017 Formula V8 3.5 championship calendar will be officially confirmed once next year's WEC race calendar is formally approved and ratified by the FIA at the end of the year.