Thomas Hylkema has finalised a deal to race in the remainder of the 2011 GP3 Series season with the Tech 1 Racing team.
The 22-year-old Dutchman graduates from Formula Renault UK, where he has raced for the previous three years. He tested for GP3 teams over the winter but was unable to secure a seat in time for the start of the season.
Having missed the opening rounds of the season at Istanbul and Barcelona, Hylkema will return to action this week at the official GP3 test at the Hungaroring on Wednesday and Thursday. He will then make his race debut at the Valencia Street Circuit in support of the European Grand Prix on 25/26 June.
“This is a magnificent opportunity for me,” said Hylkema. “I'm so excited to be making my race debut in GP3 and especially with such a strong and dynamic team as Tech 1, they've already shown what they can do this season so I know I'm in the right place to learn.
“Everything has come together very quickly. For a while we weren't sure what would be happening this year but this opportunity is a fantastic one – GP3 is exactly where I wanted to be this year and I'm absolutely delighted to be on the grid for the rest of the season. I want to say a big thank you to my family, management and sponsors for making this deal happen.”
“There's a lot for me to get adjusted to, especially with all of the other drivers having experience from the first two race meetings. One of the biggest changes for me is the move from Michelin tyres, which I've been on in Formula Renault for the last three years, to Pirelli. I obviously got some understanding from the tests I did over the winter though so that will have helped.”
In addition to his racing, Thomas, brother of British Formula 3 racer Bart, will continue with studying for a degree in Aerospace Engineering which he is currently undertaking at home in The Netherlands.
Hylkema replaces Andrea Caldarelli in the French squad’s driver lineup for the Hungaroring test. The Italian currently lies second in the standings after the opening two rounds.