iSport International‘s departure from the GP2 Series has been confirmed with the news that their entry has been taken over by new team Russian Time.
The new team is led by team principal Igor Mazepa and general manager Timo Rumpfkeil, with the team sharing the same base as the latter’s successful Motopark Academy racing team at the Oschersleben circuit in Germany.
The departure of 2007 series champions iSport comes after team boss Paul Jackson revealed he was looking to sell the team’s entry after failing to find drivers with the necessary budget for the 2013 season.
“We’re very happy to be joining the GP2 Series,” said Mazepa. “It is one of the most prestigious categories in motorsport and we cannot wait to start running with the car this week in Barcelona.
“We know that it will be a challenge to be quickly on par with the other teams, but we have managed to put together a group of people whose experience in GP2 will be invaluable and we are pretty confident that we will do a good job from the get-go. We’re looking forward to this first season and hope to add many more to it.”
GP2 Series CEO Bruno Michel added: “I am pleased to welcome Russian Time to the GP2 Series. I am certain that they will be a great addition to our field. Igor Mazepa has already put in place a team of staff with some great GP2 experience which will help them be able to be on pace very quickly.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank iSport International and Paul Jackson for eight great seasons in GP2 and wish them all the best for the future.”
Russian Time are the third new team to join the category for this season, after MP Motorsport replaced Coloni and Hilmer Motorsport took the place of Ocean Racing Technology.
Russian Time will take to the track for the first time at the second and final pre-season test at Barcelona from Tuesday, with Tom Dillmann and Luciano Bacheta behind the wheel of their two cars.
GP2 race-winner Dillmann, who previously finished on the podium on a one-off with the iSport team in the non-championship race in Abu Dhabi in 2011, posted the fastest time in the first pre-season test at Jerez last week with Hilmer. Bacheta meanwhile will be making his GP2 debut after winning the FIA Formula Two Championship title last year.
Another first-timer will be Conor Daly who will replace Dillmann at Hilmer. The American seemed set to continue in GP3 this year with ART Grand Prix after testing for the French team a fortnight ago but he will now line-up alongside Pal Varhaug at the GP2 test.
Elsewhere, Rodolfo Gonzalez has replaced Nathanael Berthon at Trident, with Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robin Frijns continuing in the second car. The other two unconfirmed seats at Caterham and Lazarus will again be occupied by Sergio Canamasas and Kevin Giovesi respectively.
Test entry list (confirmed season entries in bold):
DAMS: Marcus Ericsson/Stephane Richelmi
ART Grand Prix: James Calado/Daniel Abt
Arden International: Johnny Cecotto/Mitch Evans
Racing Engineering: Julian Leal/Fabio Leimer
Carlin: Felipe Nasr/Jolyon Palmer
Russian Time: Luciano Bacheta/Tom Dillmann
Caterham Racing: Sergio Canamasas/Ma Qing Huga
Barwa Addax Team: Jake Rosenzweig/Rio Haryanto
Rapax: Stefano Coletti/Simon Trummer
Trident Racing: Robin Frijns/Rodolfo Gonzalez
Hilmer Motorsport: Conor Daly/Pal Varhaug
Venezuela GP Lazarus: Rene Binder/Kevin Giovesi
MP Motorsport: Adrian Quaife-Hobbs/Daniel De Jong