Italian teenage racing driver Kevin Ceccon is to challenge for the GP3 championship in 2012, after successfully claiming the Auto GP title in 2011.
Ceccon, 18, competed in half of last year's GP2 Series with Scuderia Coloni before opting to drop out at the halfway point in order to focus on his Auto GP campaign, which he narrowly won over Luca Filippi - who replaced Ceccon in GP2 and went on to finish runner-up in that series, too.
"I am very happy to face this challenge of the GP3 Series with Ocean Racing Technology," said Ceccon. "I can't wait to get started in the Silverstone tests, where I will be able to start working with the crew," he said, adding: "I could conceivably finish in the top three of the championship."
Ceccon will line-up alongside new team mates Carmen Jorda and Robert Cregan, both of whom are also GP3 rookies - as is the team itself, having only entered the series over the close-season replacing former GP3 regulars Tech 1.
Tiago Monteiro, Ocean Racing Technology's team manager, was clearly looking at Ceccon to be the senior member of the line-up despite his age.
"Kevin is a very fast, professional driver," said the former F1 and current WTCC driver. "Despite his youth, he has the necessary experience to successfully enter the GP3 Series and to help his two teammates to evolve. It's a great pleasure to be able to count on him."
Other recent driver signings in GP3 include Japanese racer Kotaro Sakurai joining Status Grand Prix alongside Marlon Stöckinger, Antonio Spavone joining Vicky Piria at Trident, Antonio Félix da Costa signing up at Carlin alongside Alex Brundle, and Atech CRS Grand Prix announcing the signing of Tamás Pál Kiss to pair up with Ethan Ringel as two-thirds of their driver line-up for 2012.
17-year-old Sakurai is the reigning British Formula 3 National Class champion and has been spending the past year testing with Status GP. Team manager Teddy Yip said that he had "watched him mature and grow as a driver. It's a great pleasure to welcome him into the team on a full-time basis in the GP3 Series this season."
Italian racing driver Spavone, also 17, is stepping up into GP3 with Trident after spending 2010 competing in the Italian Formula Abarth Championship. "I know there will be plenty of work to do and I'll face some very experienced drivers," he said at the announcement of his signing. "My goal is to clinch a top-10 spot as fast as possible."