Hilmer Motorsports has opted to replace Norwegian racer Pal Varhaug with British driver Jon Lancaster in the #23 car for the next round of the 2013 GP2 Series championship this weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Varhaug had competed in both of the two rounds of the GP2 season so far in Malaysia and Bahrain, but his best finish for the team was just 15th place in his first outing. The 22-year-old had previously completed a full season in the 2011 GP2 and GP2 Asia championships with Dams.
"I will not drive for Hilmer Motorsport in Barcelona," Varhaug posted without further explanation on Twitter on Tuesday. "I am now open for other possibilities."
His place in the team will be taken by Lancaster, who previously took part in the opening round of last year's GP2 season with Ocean Racing Technology. Lancaster was originally expected to race for the team for the whole season, but problems with sponsorship backing meant that the 24-year-old was replaced initially by Brendon Hartley and then for the rest of the season by Victor Guerin
"So happy to be back!!!' Lancaster wrote on Twitter after the news broke. "Over the moon to be back in a car, let alone GP2! A huge thank you to Franz Hilmer personally."
It was not immediately clear whether this is a one-off deal or whether Lancaster's GP2 return was only for this weekend's races in Spain.
Lancaster has not had a full season deal in place since he competed with Fortec Motorsport in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. He made race starts in both the FIA Formula Two Championship (with MotorSport Vision) and Auto GP World Series (with Super Nova Racing) in 2011, while since his curtailed outing in the feeder series the Leeds-born racer has participated in the MRF Challenge winter series in India.
Lancaster will race alongside Sauber F1 reserve and test driver Robin Frijns, who took over the the team's #22 car in Bahrain from initial driver Conor Daly who is expected to be racing in Barcelona this weekend back in his 'day job' with ART in the GP3 Series before heading to the US to participate in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 with AJ Foyt Racing.
Hilmer Motorsport only entered the GP2 Series at the start of the year, replacing the departing Ocean Racing Technology team on the grid for the 2013 season.
Prctice for the third weekend of the 2013 GP2 season is on Friday morning at 12noon (11am BST) after F1 Free Practice 1, with qualifying later in the afternoon at 3.55pm (2.55pm BST) after the end of F1 Free Practice 2.
The 37-lap feature race on Saturday is scheduled for 3.40pm (2.40pm BST) following Grand Prix qualifying, with the 26-lap sprint race on Sunday morning at 10.35am (9.35am BST) ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain. All GP2 sessions are scheduled to be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports F1