Status Grand Prix has signed British driver Josh Webster to join its attack on the 2013 GP3 Series as the championship enters its new era with a 400hp engine.
The 19-year-old makes the step up to the Formula One support series with the support of long-time sponsor Nine Group, who have backed Webster in his previous three seasons of racing in the Formula Renault BARC series in the UK. He joins Swedish driver Jimmy Eriksson in the line-up at the Silverstone-based Status GP team.
Webster, who collected eight wins on the way to twice being vice-champion in the Formula Renault BARC series, had his first experience of the previous generation of GP3 Series car at Jerez last autumn. He made his debut with Status GP, which has won races in all three seasons of GP3, yesterday during the first day of this weeks three-day test at Estoril, where the new AER-engined Dallara GP3/13 cars hit the tracks for the first time.
Josh Webster said: "GP3 is a massive step up for me and I am under no illusion about how much I have to learn, but it will be a fantastic experience and it's great to be at first test this week at Estoril. Apart from learning about the car and the European circuits, the Pirelli tyres will also take some getting used to but I'm up for the challenge."
Status GP team principal Teddy Yip commented: "Josh has been a clearly visible talent on the British scene over the past few seasons, and we believe his performances will turn heads this year. His test and simulator runs have been impressive, and we look forward to a strong season."
A former European Rotax Junior karting champion, Webster was a finalist for the 2012 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award and is a part of the MSA Team UK and BRDC Rising Star talent schemes.
Webster continued: "Of course I hope to do well but I am also aware of the fact that I havent driven at seven of the eight circuits we will be competing at this season, so this will undoubtedly be a learning year for me. I see GP3 as a two-year programme and I intend to put some solid foundations in place as quickly as I can. My family, James Palmer at Nine Group and my other sponsors have given me this opportunity and I fully intend to repay their loyalty with some exciting performances. I am delighted to be joining Status GP as they are a very experienced team with great people who have all made me feel very welcome."
Nine Group's purple and white colour brand form the basis of Status GP's colour scheme this season, and Nine Group will be the primary sponsor on Josh Webster's #19 car.
James Palmer, Nine Group CEO, said: "We are really pleased to be able to support Josh into GP3. Our business philosophy is Train, Guide, Win, and Josh is the epitome of this. To see him develop and progress has been fantastic."