Force India Formula 1 tester Nikita Mazepin is joining ART for the 2018 GP3 season, the expected final contest of the series.

Mazepin will move into the category after spending two years with Hitech GP in European F3, claiming three podiums at Spa and Austria.

The 18-year-old has also previously had one win with Carlin in BRDC British F3 in 2016.

The Russian was one of five drivers that spent time with the French outfit in post-season testing at Abu Dhabi, finishing third in both the afternoon and morning sessions of days two and three.

“Giving Nikita a steering wheel in GP3 is the logical continuation of our partnership, which started on an excellent basis in Abu Dhabi,” ART’s Sebastien Philippe said.

“ART has had a good relationship with Hitech for several years, and this collaboration with Nikita is the culmination of the work they carried out together.

“Nikita has given us a glimpse of his personal nature and his qualities as a racing driver and I am sure he can be an integral part in our fight for an eighth team title.”

Mazepin joins new team-mate and Ferrari academy racer Callum Ilott in arranging a GP3 drive for 2018.