British F3 title winner Felipe Nasr will graduate to GP2 for the 2012 season after inking a deal to join Davide Valsecchi in the DAMS line-up.
Nasr, who also finished third in the Daytona 24 Hours having secured a race seat as winner of the Sunoco Driver Challenge, is set to test with his new team for the first time at Jerez at the end of the month.
The signing of the teenager gives DAMS a strong line-up for the year ahead, with team CEO Jean-Paul Driot confident of success on track from both drivers.
"I'm really delighted to welcome Felipe to the DAMS team,” he said. “We've known him and followed his progress since his Formula BMW days, and we immediately spotted his incredible potential. We'll do what's necessary to allow him to express his talent and develop it throughout the whole GP2 Series Championship.
“With Davide's experience and Felipe's fieriness and youth we've got the best possible driver combination."
Nasr himself was thrilled with the new agreement as he moves up into GP2 for the first time.
"I am very happy that we managed to get all the details worked out and that I will be able to be in GP2 this year,” he said. “After Italy in 2009, the UK in 2010 and 2011 it is time for me to move again and head to France, thanks to the combined efforts of my family, my manager Steve Robertson, my Brazilian sponsors and of DAMS, I have a new home where to work, improve my driving and prove my worth. I have so much to learn and I am sure that with DAMS in GP2 and with a strong team mate, I am in the right place to learn the trades of the series and of the new tracks that I will face.
“I have to say that some of them I already know from the Formula BMW time, but it will be a tough challenge getting out of the British cocoon I comfortably was for the last two years. I have no word to describe how happy I am to be able to continue to wear the colours of Brazil with two strong Brazilian sponsors that believe in me and will be supporting my career in the long run."
The 19-year-old driver has already made quite a splash in just three full-time seasons competing in motorsport, which started in 2009 when he won the Formula BMW Europe Championship in his maiden season. He went on to claim the British Formula 3 title at the end of 2011, amassing seven race wins and no less than 17 podium positions as he romped home to an emphatic championship.
DAMS is seeking to follow-up its 2011 success, which saw their lead driver Romain Grosjean storm to emphatic drivers championships in both the GP2 and GP2 Asia Series. DAMS itself finished as runners-up in the teams championship after second driver Pal Varhaug failed to contribute any additional points to Grosjean's tally during the main season.
The team fielded Rio Haryanto and Nigel Melker in the non-championship GP2 Final event in Abu Dhabi last November, with Melker subsequently getting signed up by Ocean Racing Technology for the 2012 season. DAMS tried out Haryanto, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, Nico Muller, Rodolfo Gonzalez, Giovanni Venturini and series veteran Stefano Coletti (now confirmed with Scuderia Coloni) during the post-season tests at Jerez and Barcelona at the end of 2011.