An all-new championship to launch in 2010 has been unveiled by organisers of the GP2 Series in a bid to offer drivers a direct 'stepping-stone' to the Formula 1 feeder series.

To be known as the GP3 Series, it will participate on the same weekends as the GP2 Series, which in turn means it will feature on several Formula 1 support packages too.

Adopting a similar philosophy to GP2 in that the chassis, engine and tyres will be identical, a consultation process at a later date will take place to decide who will manufacturer the cars.

Expected to be similar in size and power to the cars featured in the Formula Master Championship, which was announced this week as featuring on the Formula 1 support package in 2009, the 2.0-litre engines will develop 250bhp and the chassis will incorporate the latest single-seater design features.

"The philosophy behind GP3 Series will be very similar to what we did in GP2 regarding the performance of the car, the control of the costs, the show, the safety and the training to access to the following category, but adjusted to the level of this new Series," GP2 Series director Bruno Michel said.

"We will make sure that this Series will be as successful as GP2 in revealing young drivers able to jump to the next step. We are looking forward to 2010!"

Coming in the same week that the FIA launched the new Formula 2 Championship, one that will support most of the World Touring Car races, Bernie Ecclestone sees GP3 as the chance to continue the success of GP2.

"After the tremendous success of the GP2 Series, I believe this GP3 Series will be an opportunity for drivers, engineers and mechanics who are making their way to Formula One. I wish good luck to this Series."

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