Russian Time will not take part in this year's GP3 Series championship after all, with the announcement on Thursday that Hilmer Motorsport will take their place instead.
Russian Time had been due to make its début in GP3 this season after replacing Bamboo Engineering over the winter. However, the sudden death of team principal Igor Mazepa last month resulted in a split between Russian Time and the race team's operators Team Motopark which has led to a change in business strategy.
Russian Time's participation in GP2 - where they are the reigning team champions - was saved by iSport stepping in to run the squad in the feeder series, but that arrangement did not extend to the proposed new GP3 operation. Russian Time have now arranged for Hilmer Motorsport to replace them on the 2014 grid.
“We're delighted to welcome Hilmer Motorsport to GP3," said series CEO Bruno Michel. "I am confident Hilmer Motorsport will put together a GP3 team that will be ready and competitive for this exciting new challenge."
"We are very happy to announce the expansion of our motorsport programme," said team principal Franz Hilmer. "Since the establishment of Hilmer Motorsport in 2013 we wanted to build up and field a GP3 team. Now the opportunity has been presented to us and we took the chance.
"The creation of a GP3 team is the logical step in the development of young talents," Hilmer continued. "Our target is to support and teach up-and-coming drivers in GP3 Series and help them to step up in higher racing classes. With the partnership of our GP2 team with Sahara Force India they come closer to become test driver of a Formula 1 team.
"We all at Hilmer Motorsport will start this new project as professional as we performed in our first GP2 season last year," he added. "We would like to thank Russian Time and the GP3 organisation to make this possible so quickly because the new season will start soon.
Hilmer Motorsport is still a relatively a new team in the feeder series, having made its début in GP2 last year at the same time as Russian Time.
"Their rookie year in GP2 Series in 2013 was quite strong with four wins and seven rostrum finishes," said Michel. "This will provide another good link-up to GP2 with five of the nine GP3 teams racing in both series giving the drivers even more opportunity to move up the ladder."
The 2014 GP3 Series season gets underway on May 9-11 in Catalunya, Spain. Before that, Hilmer Motorport will have a chance to participate in the pre-season test sessions at Estoril (March 27-28), Jerez (April 10-11) and Catalunya (April 16-17.)