James Calado will switch to the GP3 Series in 2011, racing for championship-winning team ART Grand Prix.

21-year-old Calado, who is backed by the Racing Steps Foundation, finished second in the British Formula Three Championship in 2010, driving for Carlin. He finished the season with an impressive victory in the wet at Brands Hatch.

ART won the inaugural season of the GP3 Series with driver Esteban Gutierrez, as well as winning the teams' title. The partnership with French squad ART marks a change for the Racing Steps Foundation, set up to support promising British racing drivers. The foundation has only previously worked with British teams Carlin, Fortec and iSport, including placing Dean Smith in GP3 with Carlin in 2010.

“It’s fantastic to be joining such a strong team as ART,” said Calado. “They’ve won the inaugural GP3 series and are very strong in GP2 and the F3 Euro Series as well. To be joining a championship-winning squad is what every driver wants. So to have the opportunity to do that, and to race in such a high profile series in front of F1’s movers and shakers, is a dream come true.”

ART boss Frederic Vasseur hopes Calado can continue the team's success in the series so far. “We’ve kept a close eye on James over the past couple of years, as we do with all promising drivers, and are confident he has all the qualities and ambition to succeed in GP3,” he said. “We’ve won the inaugural championship with Esteban Gutierrez and to repeat that success by taking James to his first single-seater title would be fantastic for us and for him.”

Photo credit: Chris Gurton Photography