Daniel De Jong will make his GP2 Series debut in Valencia this weekend with the Rapax Team.
It had been believed that De Jong was going to replace race winner Tom Dillmann at the team, but an illness for the squad’s other driver Ricardo Teixeira means that Dillmann gets to race again this weekend.
19-year-old Dutchman De Jong is racing in Auto GP this season, where he is seventh in the points. Last year he raced in Formula Renault 3.5, claiming a couple of points in the very last race of the season. He previously raced in Formula Renault for three seasons, claiming one race win in the Northern European Cup.
He drove with Rapax in pre-season testing, and has signed a deal with the Italian team to race in four of the remaining seven race weekends. He will also race in the last two rounds of the Auto GP season in Brazil and the US.
“This is an exciting time for my career, I'm really happy to have been able to agree a deal with the guys at Rapax to make my GP2 debut and I'd like to take this chance to thank the team for giving me the opportunity,” said De Jong.
“We had a good GP2 test earlier in the year at Jerez but since then we've been focusing on Auto GP.
“It's going to be a really big challenge to step into the GP2 Series in the middle of the season but I can't wait to get out there in Valencia, it's a great opportunity for me. I know it's going to be the biggest challenge of my career so far but I'm hoping we can do a good job and move forward from Valencia on – let's see how it goes.”
Team Owner Gianfranco Sovernigo said: “We got the news of Teixeira's illness at the eve of the round at Valencia, and we wish him a quick comeback. We'll do our best together with Dillmann to keep the Angolan banner and the Sonangol name high in Spain.
“We're also proud to be bringing a promising young driver like De Jong to his maiden GP2 Race. We met with Daniel in the 2012 pre-season tests and we've always been in-touch with the goal of working together for 2013. At the eve of the round at Valencia, the chance came earlier than planned, and for us it's been a logical decision.”