Kevin Magnussen will lead the Carlin in 2012 (Photo Credit: Renault Sport)

Kevin Magnussen will lead the Carlin in 2012 (Photo Credit: Renault Sport)

Formula Renault 3.5 rookies Kevin Magnussen and Will Stevens will make their debut this weekend for reigning champions Carlin, who are aiming for a third straight driver’s crown.

The gulf in talent across the FR3.5 grid has certainly increased, ensuring Carlin will do well to replicate last season's dominance; with champion Robert Wickens and Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne behind the wheel, they sealed the team's championship with more than double the points of the second placed team.

For Magnussen, it is his second consecutive season with Carlin, having raced to second place with the team in the British F3 International Series last year while Stevens will be making his bow for the team after impressing in Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup where he finished fourth overall.

The 20 year-old moves up from the Formula Renault 2.0 Euro Series, where he finished fourth overall having secured four podiums, including a race win at Motorland last year.

Speaking ahead of the first race of the season, Magnussen said, “I'm really looking forward to this weekend and my first Formula Renault 3.5 race.

“I'm hoping I can have a good solid start to the season and collect some good points. 

“We know our car has the speed and that's it's capable of being right up there.

“It's a lot faster than last year's car and I enjoy driving it so the first race should be good fun.”

Having secured two pole positions and a race win the last time he competed at the Motorland circuit, Stevens is also feeling positive ahead of this weekend's season opener.

He said: “I'm going into this weekend in Motorland with a lot of confidence.

“We had a good test here a few weeks back and we know we're quick around the circuit.

“The new car is awesome so I'm looking forward to getting back out on track again.

“Obviously for me it's a big step up from my previous racing however I think we're making good progress and hopefully we'll have a strong weekend here in Spain.”