Sweden's Marcus Ericsson has landed one of the most sought-after race seats in GP2, with confirmation that he's stepping into the lead role at DAMS for the 2013 season.
DAMS have been behind the last two successful championship campaigns, with Romain Grosjean clinching the 2011 title with the team and Davide Valsecchi following in his footsteps this year. Now the French team will seek to extend that run in 2013 with Ericsson.
"I'm extremely proud to get the opportunity to drive for the DAMS team," said Ericsson. "Their results over the last couple of years say it all."
Ericsson has been competing in the feeder series full time since 2012 when he made his debut with Super Nova and claimed his first sprint race win at Valencia. In the most recent two season he's been competing with iSport, and claimed his first feature race win this season with victory at Spa on his way to finishing eighth in the championship.
With Valsecchi no longer eligible to compete in GP2 after winning the title, and the team's second driver in 2012 Felipe Nasr already signed up for next season by Carlin, DAMS found themselves in need of an all-new line-up for next season and duly went to work auditioning drivers at the four post-season test days at Barcelona in October and Jerez in November.
"After testing successfully together in the Jerez post-season tests, there were no doubts as to where I wanted to be in 2013," said Ericsson, who spent a day with the team at Jerez. "The preparations for next year have already started and I feel ready to fight at the front of the championship together with DAMS.”
Other drivers who tested with DAMS after the end of the season were Nigel Melker, Arthur Pic, Sergey Sirotkin, Mitch Evans and Rio Haryanto. Stephane Richelmi also spent a day with the team at Jerez in November, and was ultimately the choice of team CEO Jean-Paul Driot to pair with Ericsson.
"I'm delighted that Marcus and Stéphane have signed with us for 2013," said Driot. "Both have experience in GP2 and they're bringing us a perfect combination of maturity and fieriness."
Richelmi made his GP2 début in the final race of the 2011 season at Monza as a stand-in for the injured Stefano Coletti, and was retained by Trident for a full rookie season in 2012 that saw him win his first podium at Silverstone.