It has been confirmed that GP3 Series champion Mitch Evans will make the step up to GP2 this season with the Arden International team.

The 18-year-old New Zealander spent two years with MW Arden in GP3, winning the title last year with three race wins.

He tested with the squad’s GP2 operation post-season but even with a €200,000 scholarship from Pirelli at his disposal to move onto the series, budget limitations had cast some doubt over Evans’ future.

But the team has now confirmed the Mark Webber protege will partner Johnny Cecotto during the coming campaign.

“Firstly I’d like the thank Arden for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to drive with them in GP2 after two greats years in GP3,” said Evans.

“I want to thank Mark Webber and [partner] Ann Neal and everyone behind the scenes that have made this possible, I am hugely grateful for the chance to race in the GP2 series. I have full trust in the team that they will give me the best opportunity to have a successful rookie season. I cannot wait for the season to get underway.”

Arden sporting director Julian Rouse added: “We are delighted to have Mitch move up to GP2 and stay with the Arden team. We have a great relationship with him, and have seen him grow in the last two years in a Championship that was created to bring great drivers into GP2 Series.

“We tested Mitch at the Barcelona and Jerez tests at the end of last year and were encouraged by his performance especially as he was in the top 10 with drivers who have several years GP2 experience. Also with everyone at Arden knowing Mitch so well, I am sure we can develop him as a front running GP2 driver very quickly and efficiently.”