The new-for-2010 GP3 Series has revealed the identity of the ten teams officially accepted for its first three seasons, with F1 driver Mark Webber among those involved.
Each team will be required to run three
cars in each of 2010, 2011 and 2012, before the series follows current GP2 Series procedure and re-evaluates its line-up.
While Webber will steal many headlines, courtesy of his new partnership with Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner's Arden outfit - running under the MW Arden banner with an Australian licence - Britain leads the list of entrants with three teams - Manor Racing, Hitech and Carlin Motorsport.
France will see newly-crowned GP2 Series champion ART Grand Prix joined by World Series by Renault frontrunner Tech 1 Racing, with the former again locking horns with Spain's Addax Team. German F3 experts Mücke Motorsport joins A1GP champion Status Grand Prix and Switzerland's Jenzer Motorsport in completing the line-up.
“The entry selection process has been thought out very carefully, and we have only selected teams that proved to be most successful in their categories," series organiser Bruno Michel revealed, "This was, of course, a very important step for GP3 and I am very pleased to welcome them all. I sincerely believe that we enjoy a strong and extremely competitive line-up.
"The philosophy behind GP3 Series is very similar to what we've been doing in GP2 for the past five years in terms of car performance, cost control, show, safety and training to access to the following category but, of course, adjusted to the level of this new series. Our goal is to reveal young drivers able to jump to the next step.
"Together with these ten teams and our technical partners Dallara, Renault, Pirelli and Hewland, we will work hard to make the GP3 Series a success and I cannot wait for the inaugural season to start! ”
The first GP3 Series car has been undergoing constant development testing throughout the summer, with a total of nine days' running at Mugello, Paul Ricard and the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona in the hands of recently-appointed Renault F1 driver Romain Grosjean and 2009 GP2 runner-up Vitaly Petrov at the wheel.
With initial focus falling on reliability and performance, an additional four days will complete the development programme, while the production process will start shortly with three cars delivered to each team in the first weeks of 2010.
The first official test session will take place in March, followed by two other sessions before the opening race weekend at the first European F1 round. The rest of the calendar will follow the European F1 schedule, with the exception of Monaco and Istanbul, and conclude at GP2's stand-alone race.