17-year-old Italian racer Kevin Ceccon will join Auto GP for 2011, driving for the Ombra Racing team.

Ceccon finished fourth in the European F3 Open in 2010, his second year in the series. He took six podium finishes and one race win. At the end of the season he took part in GP2 Series testing at Abu Dhabi, finishing as high as fourth in one session.

He recently tested the Auto GP car for the RP Motorsport team at Magny-Cours, lapping within eight tenths of former GP2 race winner Luca Filippi. By signing up to the series with Ombra Racing, he will be able to compete in the newly-created Under 21 Trophy.

Ceccon is pleased to be joining Auto GP. When I started looking around for 2011, it was immediately clear that Auto GP was the first choice,” he explained. “Thanks to the Eurosport TV coverage approaching the sponsors was easier, and looking at value for money, there's nothing like it in international motorsport. The car is amazing, and then you have the prize money, the prize GP2 test and the Under 21 Trophy, that's really a lot. Anyway, I made my decision after the test I did in Magny-Cours: there I realized that the car can be really a good school for GP2 because having no ground effect it's very very similar to drive and the engine it's really powerful.

“I have a very clear aim for 2011: working with a skilled team like Ombra, with a staff that has a lot of experience on this car, I want to improve steadily, also learning to cope with situations, like the pit-stops, that I never faced before. Then good results will come as a consequence.”

Ombra's Massimo Pollini said: “After winning a lot with this car in the 2009 Euroseries, we really wanted to get back on track, that's why last year we raced in Monza, to prepare ourselves for a full-time commitment this season.

“Our philosophy as a team has always been helping the young drivers to stand out, and with Kevin we know that we have one of the best youngsters in Italian motorsport, a driver that can achieve a lot with the right car. We believe that we can give him such a car, so I'm sure we will have fun together.”

Auto GP boss Enzo Coloni commented: “Kevin is one of the most talented Italian drivers, and I'm very happy to see that he did choose Auto GP for 2011. He really suits the driver profile we were thinking of when we decided to create the Under 21 Trophy – young guns that have already showed impressive glimpses of talent, something that could lead them to an F1 debut in a few years. Ceccon already impressed us, first on the simulator and then on the GP2 car. He needs to remember that in his first season in such a challenging car he will need some time to extract the best performance from it, but I'm sure he will learn quickly and clinch some great results.”