With the GP2 teams already heading to the first race of the season next week at Sepang in Malaysia, Rapax have announced that Tom Dillmann and Ricardo Teixeira will be their drivers for the 2012 season.
Both drivers tested with Rapax in the final pre-season sessions at Barcelona earlier this month, and the team were happy to make the appointments official five days before the first GP2 practice session of the year.
"We're proud to have with us two extremely valuable drivers," said owner's representative Gianfranco Sovernigo. "Dillmann impressed us a lot in pre-season testing as he showed to be a motivated and professional guy, with all the speed skills needed to leave his mark in 2012."
22-year-old Dillmann competed in last year's GP2 Final event and was runner up in the the Pirelli prize for best 2011 GP3 making his début during the event after finishing equal on points with James Calado.
"I'm delighted to sign in GP2. It hasn't been easy but I never gave up and step by step went my way up here," the French driver said. "It will be my first year with 'big cars', but I don't want to see it as a two- or three-year plan. My goal is to be competitive from the beginning, I know how tough it is to just have the chance to race in GP2."
Dillmann added that he already had "a good connection together with the team" thanks to the pre-season testing and that he was looking forward to Sepang.
Compared with Dillmann's rookie status, 27-year-old Portuguese-Angolan driver Ricardo Teixeira is one of GP2's veterans. He first entered the series in 2008 and then completed a full season with Trident Racing in 2009. Unfortunately he finished the year pointless and consequently moved to Formula Two in 2010 before picking up a post with Team Lotus as their F1 test driver in 2011.
"It's amazing feeling to come back to racing after a big stop specially with the opportunity to drive a nice car like this and make part of such good team and a great atmosphere," he said. "[Rapax] is extremely professional and I think I can learn a lot during this year with them and I'm sure together we can achieve good things."
Owner's representative Gianfranco Sovernigo praised Teixeira's "great commitment" during the pre-season tests and said the team was committed to helping Teixeira continue on his learning curve and in achieving his goals for 2012.