Lotus ART have confirmed that they have signed 22-year-old British driver James Calado to race for them in the 2012 G2 Series, joining the previously-announced Esteban Gutierrez as his team mate.
"I could not dream of a better team to meet this challenge with," said Calado when the news was released. "Lotus ART's tremendous expertise and approach have no equal and with Lotus ART I know that I have everything I need to integrate myself quickly and well into this extremely competitive championship."
Calado has just finished as runner-up in the GP3 Series with Lotus ART, after several years experience in British Formula Three and assorted Formula Renault series. In 2011 he took six GP3 podium finishes - including a win - and two fastest laps on his way to second place behind Lotus ART team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
"Lotus ART and I have demonstrated what we can do in the GP3 Series and I hope that we will do the same in the GP2 Series," he said. "This is excellent news because it allows me to climb up an additional level very early in the season and I will then have the time to prepare myself for the challenge."
Calado cemented his new position in GP2 with a solid performance in the recent post-season GP2 tests for the team at Jerez and Barcelona.
"James' performances in his first year in the GP3 Series was a key reason for continuing our collaboration in the GP2 Series," agreed team principal Frederic Vasseur. "James impressed Lotus ART with his professional approach and his ability to face every race situation: safety car, changing track conditions, starting from the back of the grid, he was spared nothing and James always rose to the task with a remarkable state of mind and performances which enabled him to compete for the title down to the last race.
"I believe that James has the potential to pull the team to the top and to win races in 2012," he added.
Calado is one of the drivers currently being supported by the Racing Steps Foundation, an organisation set up in 2008 by Graham Sharp to give young British drivers a boost into junior categories in Formula Three, Formula Renault and karting as well as British Superbikes.
"James' progress since he became a part of the Foundation has been really impressive," said Sharp after hearing the news. "Each season he has raised his game to meet the new challenges of new formulae with maturity, dedication and professionalism as a result of which he's more than earned the Foundation's backing for a Lotus ART GP2 seat."
Calado will also be paired with Sauber F1 reserve driver Gutierrez for next month's GP2 Final race which is being held at Abu Dhabi in support of the F1 Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on 11-13 November.