Josh Webster has been confirmed with the Status Grand Prix team for his debut season in the GP3 Series.

The 19-year-old from Stowmarket made his first appearance for the Silverstone-based squad as pre-season testing got underway at Estoril yesterday. He had previously tested for Carlin late last year.

Webster makes the step up to GP3 after three years in Formula Renault BARC. After finishing runner-up to fellow GP3 newcomer Dino Zamparelli in 2011 he was set to graduate to the Formula Renault UK for 2012. However, the category’s late cancellation forced him to make a last-minute return to the BARC series, again finishing the season as vice-champion.

“GP3 is a massive step up for me and I am under no illusion about how much I have to learn, but it will be a fantastic experience and it’s great to be at first test this week at Estoril,” said Webster. “Apart from learning about the car and the European circuits, the Pirelli tyres will also take some getting used to but I’m up for the challenge.

“Of course I hope to do well but I am also aware of the fact that I haven’t driven at seven of the eight circuits we will be competing at this season, so this will undoubtedly be a learning year for me.

“I see GP3 as a two-year programme and I intend to put some solid foundations in place as quickly as I can. My family, James Palmer at Nine Group and my other sponsors have given me this opportunity and I fully intend to repay their loyalty with some exciting performances. I am delighted to be joining Status GP as they are a very experienced team with great people who have all made me feel very welcome.”

Status GP team principal Teddy Yip said: “Josh has been a clearly visible talent on the British scene over the past few seasons, and we believe his performances will turn heads this year. His test and simulator runs have been impressive, and we look forward to a strong season.”

Nine Group’s purple and white colour scheme is present on all three of the Status GP cars this year.

James Palmer, Nine Group CEO, commented. “We are really pleased to be able to support Josh into GP3. Our business philosophy is Train, Guide, Win, and Josh is the epitome of this. To see him develop and progress has been fantastic.”

Webster joins Jimmy Eriksson as confirmed by Status for the coming season. Adderly Fong and Melville McKee are sharing the team’s third car in Portugal.