Ethan Ringel - Photo Credit: Drew Gibson/GP3 Series Media Service

Ethan Ringel testing for Atech CRS at Barcelona last month - Photo Credit: Drew Gibson/GP3 Series Media Service

17-year-old American Ethan Ringel has become the first driver to be confirmed in a seat for the 2012 GP3 Series after Atech CRS GP announced him as one of their drivers for next season.

Ringel, from Florida, successfully tested the GP3 car for the first time with the Atech team at the Circuit de Catalunya last month.

He made the step up from karting into car racing this year, competing in the F2000 and Formula Enterprise 4 championships and coached by British Indycar Series driver Jay Howard. He makes the move across the Atlantic to follow his dream of racing in Formula 1.

“Unike most American drivers, it was never my dream to do Indycar, I've always wanted to do Formula 1 and competing in GP3 is the most logical step to start that climb,” explained Ringel.

“Jay was actually the one who pushed for me to come over to the UK and start in GP3 and Atech CRS GP was without doubt the best choice. They have a great car, the team is very professional and all the engineers and mechanics are really good to work with.

“However, I have no expectations going into the first rounds, as I know I will be very inexperienced compared to the others. My main priority for now is to learn the car, learn the tracks and learn the best way to work with the team, so we can start the season in the best possible shape.”

Team Principal David Hayle said: “It is good to have signed our first GP3 driver so early on. We understand it will be a tough learning year for Ethan, he has limited experience in racing cars but he has been putting in lots of work back home with some great results.

“However at just 17 he has plenty of time to get to grips with this car, we've got an extensive testing programme for him and he's really keen to learn. Our primary concern will be getting him as much track time as possible, he's going to be driving the Formula Renault as often as he can, learning as many tracks as he can. He is very determined, he had a good start to his racing career in karts, and is keen and committed to doing a good job.”