Kiwi pilot Richie Stanaway will make his full-time return to single-seater racing this season in the GP3 Series with Status Grand Prix.
The 22-year-old is to drive alongside Nick Yelloly and Alfonso Celis Jr, having completed five test days with the Irish-Canadian squad in recent weeks.
The opening race in Barcelona will not be Stanaway’s GP3 debut – the Kiwi competed in four races at the tail end of the 2011 season, before moving on to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. However a heavy crash at Spa-Francorchamps in 2012, which resulted in a back injury, prematurely curtailed his season and temporarily brought his single-seater days to a close.
As an official factory driver of the Aston Martin Racing team, Stanaway spent 2013 competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship (in the LM GTE Pro class), as well as the Porsche Supercup with DAMS. Stanaway will continue his duties with Aston Martin for the rest of this season.
Undeterred by previous setbacks, Stanaway – who is also part of Gravity Sport management’s roster – is keen to make the most of the opportunity ahead. “For my single-seater career, I always hoped my injury was a bump in the road, not the end of the road. Branching into GTs last year was an important step for me, and I’m very happy to be staying with Aston Martin in a parallel programme, but I am also extremely grateful to have another opportunity on the single-seater ladder. And the GP3 Series is an ideal place for me to do that.”
Stanaway added: “The GP3 testing has gone well. To date we have not yet shown the full potential of me and the #27 Status GP car over a single lap, but the build up has been effective and I have learned a huge amount about what’s required to succeed in GP3.”
Status GP team principal Teddy Yip Jr commented: “Richie is a real talent whose progress we always followed through the ranks, and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to race with him now. He complements Nick and Alfonso perfectly in the team. Like us all, Richie is hungry for success, and has fitted in extremely well into the organisation. We’d like to thank Aston Martin Racing and Gravity Sport Management for making this possible, and we look forward to a successful season together.”
The GP3 Series commences in a little over two weeks, as a support to the Spanish Grand Prix.