BRDC British Formula 3 champion Leist to Indy Lights with Carlin

BRDC British Formula 3 champion Matheus Leist will race in the Indy Lights series in 2017 with Carlin

Leist captured the British F3 title with Double R Racing last year, defeating Carlin driver Ricky Collard in a final-round showdown at Donington Park.

The Brazilian then took part in the end-of-season GP3 Series tests in Abu Dhabi with ART, Arden and Trident but will instead head to America for 2017.

Carlin ran Ed Jones to the title in IndyCar's feeder series last year.

"I had quite a few options open to me in 2017, but a combination of things, including the opportunities in the US and on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, made Indy Lights a great option for me," said 19-year-old Leist.

"I have raced against Carlin before so I know how hard they push as a team to win.

"I'm incredibly excited to get out on track in the car and get the season under way."

Carlin had previously been expected to add an IndyCar programme this year, but has since put those plans on hold.

Team boss Trevor Carlin said: "We've raced against Matheus for the last two seasons now, and have witnessed first-hand his racecraft and raw speed.

"Now we have chance to work together, it will be great to have those talents within the team rather than trying to beat them.

"Indy Lights will certainly be a new environment for Matheus and a steep learning curve, but he has the ability and more importantly, the calm and determined nature to overcome these challenges.

"I'm very excited to see what we can achieve together in 2017."

By David Malsher

Carlin's 2016 Lights champion Jones has secured a Dale Coyne Racing IndyCar drive for this season, as team-mate to four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais, and had his first proper test with the team at Sebring last week.

"It was my first ever test at Sebring so there was a lot of learning to do," Jones told Autosport's sister publication

"I don't know how many more tests I'll have before the season starts so we needed to make it count.

"The Indy Lights car is good preparation in terms of handling, but with this IndyCar, you can just go so deep into the corner, it's difficult for you to make that jump really quickly and find the limit.

"The power jump [from 450hp to 720hp] is big, too, but it was the first time I'd been in a proper racecar since middle of September last year, so on your first day back, everything feels a lot faster, more extreme than you remember."

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