McLaren junior driver Nyck de Vries has switched from the former FR3.5 series to join ART Grand Prix in GP3 for 2016.
The Dutch 21-year-old ended 2015 third in the overall standings of the final Formula Renault 3.5 championship, before its Formula V8 3.5 rebranding, and claimed a maiden victory in the final race of the year at Jerez to secure the top rookie award.
Back in 2010 de Vries joined the McLaren Young Driver Development Programme and has been support by the Woking-based team during that time as he graduated as a karting champion into single seater racing.
The Dutch youngster sees moving to ART Grand Prix as the next logical step on his burgeoning career path as he aims for F1.
“ART Grand Prix have an incredible track record and it's the team where any young driver would like to grow,” de Vries said. “Obviously, I'm very proud to join this team, which I have known for a few years now. GP2 and GP3 are definitively the most competitive series, where most of the drivers want to go and the best school to get prepared for the highest level of motorsport, Formula One.
“I'm used to a different brake/tyre package, and I think the biggest challenge for me will be to make sure I get the most out of the tyres in qualifying and in race trim. I am confident that working with the best team, thanks to McLaren, will help me to quickly adapt to the car to get ready for the first race in Barcelona.”
de Vries impressed ART Grand Prix team manager Sebastien Philippe during his work at the post-season Abu Dhabi test and has welcomed him with open arms.
“ART Grand Prix is delighted to welcome Nyck into its GP3 squad,” Philippe said. “To help him climb the motorsport ladder is our mission and we are truly happy to do it through our collaboration with McLaren.
"Alongside his raw speed, Nyck impresses with his strong commitment, focus and determination. When you take a look at his fantastic past achievements, you know that, with Nyck, you can aim very high and our target is clearly to win the championship."