Will Palmer has accelerated forwards in his racing career by getting the green light to steer into the Formula One feeder series this year.
The Southwater driver will race in the GP3 Series with MP Motorsport, following a positive test programme with the Dutch team in Barcelona last month.
The 21-year-old graduates to the series after finishing as runner up in last season’s Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup.
The 2015 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner will make his competitive GP3 debut at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain on May 12 and 13, with two races in support of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Palmer’s journey to GP3 began in the UK-based Ginetta Junior Championship in 2011, before he made the switch to single-seaters and claimed the 2015 BRDC Formula 4 Championship crown.
He moved to Formula Renault the following season, before claiming three wins and ten podiums on his way to second place in the Eurocup standings last year.
The Sussex driver claims the final seat in MP’s three-pronged attack alongside Niko Kari and Dorian Boccolacci.
Palmer said: “It’s wonderful to be able to make the step up to GP3, and I’m very happy to do so with MP Motorsport.
“The Barcelona test gave me the confidence that together we can get the job done, and having two very strong and experienced team mates in Niko and Dorian will provide me with a good benchmark as well as help me to quickly get to grips with the car and the category.”
The young driver looks set to follow in his brother Jolyon and father Jonathan’s Formula One footsteps.
Jolyon spent two years in at the top level, achieving 35 races starts, including a career-best finish of sixth place, before leaving Renault Sport ahead of the end of the 2017 season.
Former Williams driver Jonathan took 14 Championship points from 83 Grand Prix starts between 1983 and 1989.
On Will’s step up this season, MP Motorsport team manager Sander Dorsman added: “Will has been outstanding in Formula Renault 2.0 last season, so we are extremely pleased that we have signed him up for his first season in GP3.
“With Will, Niko and Dorian, our 2018 GP3 line-up now consists of three established frontrunners. We are very much looking forward to starting the season with three of the quickest guys around.”