Gilbert, Balthasar join Silverstone GP3 Series Grid

Australian Mitch Gilbert and German Sebastian Balthasar have been confirmed to race in this weekend’s Silverstone round of the 2014 GP3 Series season.

Gilbert will compete for the Trident Racing team, while Balthasar will be at Hilmer Motorsport. Neither driver has previous experience in a GP3 Series car, so they will need to maximise seat time during the sole practice session on Friday afternoon.

20-year-old Gilbert races for Fortec Motorsports in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, replaces Russian Denis Nagulin in the team. Nagulin raced this car for Trident in Spain, but the team only ran two cars last time out in Austria for Brazilian Victor Carbone and South African Roman de Beer. Gilbert views this outing as experience ahead of a planned full-time move to GP3 in 2015.

“It’s a pretty natural step from F3,” said Gilbert. “With the TV time and the way the championship is run, it’s a lot easier to sell to sponsors. It’s where we were going anyway for next year, so it’s good preparation.”

17-year-old Balthasar has been racing in the Formula Acceleration 1 Series in 2014 for Team Germany, but now moves into GP3 with Hilmer Motorsport, replacing another Russian driver in Nikolay Martsenko who raced for the team in Austria. The German will partner Canadian Nelson Mason and Italian Riccardo Agostini at Silverstone.

“I am very delighted that I get to race in GP3 Series this weekend,” said Balthasar. “It is a fantastic opportunity to prepare and develop for my future career. I would like to thank Franz Hilmer and his team that I can be with them in Silverstone. I have never raced on this track before; I only did some laps on the simulator. But I can’t wait to do my first laps in practice.”