Austrian teenager Nico Gruber will make his car racing debut in the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford 1600 Championship this season after signing with Cliff Dempsey Racing.
The 16-year-old, who previously tested for CDR at Rockingham in November, joins the resigned Jamie Thorburn at the team.
An experienced karter, Gruber spent much of his career to date racing in Italy and picked up the Junior 125 championship title in 2014.
Gruber also went on to finish in the top three in the ROK Cup Italy in 2015 before adding the DAI Trophy in the KZ2 class last season.
After the winter test in a Ray GR14, Dempsey spoke highly of Gruber.
“Nico did a good job,” he said. “He found himself getting better and better in the car and I think he can fight for the top five in the championship.”
Dempsey ran Scottish pairing Neil MacLennan and Thorburn in National FF1600 last season. Maclennan, who won the 2016 Scottish FF1600 title, finished runner-up to eventual champion Luke Williams.
The team also ran American duo Aarone Jeansonne and Jonathan Kotyk alongside Thorburn and MacLennan at both the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy in 2017.