Macau Grand Prix winner Alex Lynn will race as a Red Bull Junior in the 2014 GP3 Series with Carlin.
The 20-year-old Briton, who was third in this year's Formula 3 European Championship, had been widely expected to remain in F3 for a second season with Prema Powerteam.
Lynn is managed by ex-Formula 1 driver and current Toyota sportscar ace Alexander Wurz and Monaco-based businessman and ex-club racer Myles Mordaunt.
He said that the surprise move strengthens his chances of getting to F1.
"Red Bull take away a lot of the uncertainty," he said. "Now I know that if I perform well, and win, I will get the chance of F1. That's all a driver can ask for. I just want the opportunity.
"It's been a bit of a whirlwind experience since I won Macau. Getting the Red Bull opportunity is massive and I think the Macau win helped in that. It's amazing. I'm ready to do the job."
Lynn joins a long line of Red Bull juniors to have raced for Carlin, including world champion Sebastian Vettel and fellow F1 racers Jaime Alguersuari, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat.
Team boss Trevor Carlin said: "We've always wanted to run Alex, and we realise what a talent he is. We're very excited to have him in the team, especially after he dominated Macau - he won it hands down, fair and square."
Carlin believes that Lynn, who is renowned for smooth driving and not taking much out of his tyres, will be ultra-competitive in GP3.
"He's got the pace to qualify well and he's also a really intelligent driver," he said. "He's very much a championship favourite, and the pressure is on us to deliver for him.
"We'll never get a better shot at winning GP3 and we'll leave no stone unturned in our attempts to do so."