Ocean Racing Technology's first major decision since taking over the GP2 Series 'franchise' previously held by BCN Competicion has been to sign proven talent Yelmer Buurman to lead its assault on the category's Asia Series.
The rebranded team, headed by for Midland F1 pilot Tiago Monteiro and business partner José Guedes, will make its public debut at the second round of the 2008-09 Asia Series, in Dubai, next weekend, and has moved quickly to snap up Buurman, who shone on occasion with Arden International last season, but failed to see out the campaign after being replaced by series veteran Luca Filippi in July.
Although the renowned wet-weather specialist is unlikely to find his skills an advantage at the Dubai Autodrome, he has shown what he is capable of in various series, shining in F3 before stepping up to podium finishes in GP2, and taking second overall in the new Superleague Formula standings at the wheel of the PSV Eindhoven entry.
"I see him as a great driver with very good potential - and he really fits this project," Monteiro said of his new signing, "His fast and has already a good experience in single-seaters. Also, he is very motivated and has a hardworking profile. It's the kind of personality Ocean Racing Technology needs."
Guedes confirmed that Buurman's showings in the Superleague series had reinforced impressions created in his truncated GP2 campaign last summer, and made him a target for Ocean's new line-up after being left on the sidelines for the Asia Series.
"Yelmer is very reliable," Guedes pointed out, "He had an outstanding performance in Superleague Formula, he showed how to take the best out of a new car with a lot of work to be done. He also had a quick adaptation the first time he took a GP2 seat, as well as in the World Series. He is the kind of driver we are looking for at Ocean Racing Technology and I am positive he will fit perfectly well in our structure."
Buurman, meanwhile, promised to work hard to keep the seat, having been left in a share of 20th position in the GP2 main series by the termination of his deal with Arden, and appeared unfazed by joining the reincarnation of what was GP2's least successful outfit.
"I would like to thank Tiago for [giving me] a new chance in GP2 after my successful season in Superleague Formula with PSV," the 21-year old commented, "My first races in GP2 Asia last year were quite good - in Dubai, I finished on the podium and I hope to repeat this performance with Ocean Racing Technology.
"It is exciting to race for this brand new team and I will do my best to impress Tiago and José Guedes enough to stay in his team as one of the race drivers for 2009. Tiago explained his ideas and plans to me and I am convinced the new team will soon be a frontrunner."