Briton James Calado has become a Ferrari factory driver and will race for the AF Corse team in this year's World Endurance Championship, it has been confirmed.
AF Corse made the announcement over the course of the first day of the official WEC test at Paul Ricard that Calado would partner Davide Rigon in its second factory Ferrari 458 Italia in the GTE Pro class.
Calado, who made five free practice outings with Force India last year, told AUTOSPORT: "Formula 1 was my goal, but you need a lot of money to get in these days.
"I am a racing driver and have been so all my life, so I've got to be doing this as a job - I can't do anything else because I left school at 16.
"I'm more than happy driving a factory Ferrari for such and impressive and prestigious team as AF Corse."
Calado, who finished third in GP2 last year, explained that he wanted to build a long-term future in sportscars with Ferrari.
"I'm not saying that I won't be racing single-seaters again, but for the time being my full focus is on helping Ferrari win a world championship," he said.
"I'm learning Italian and want to build a long-term relationship here."
AF Corse boss Amato Ferrari stated that he believed Calado had a bright future in sportscar racing.
"I hope James can stay with us for many years and we believe that in him and Davide we have two top young drivers," he said.
DID YOU KNOW...
.... Calado is the first British driver to have a Ferrari factory contract since Eddie Irvine in 1996-99? He also becomes the first Englishman to be signed by the Italian manufacturer since Nigel Mansell.