McLaren have signed 2012 EuroCup Formula Renault 2.0 champion Stoffel Vandoorne to their Young Driver Programme.
The 20-year-old, who scored four race wins and 11 podiums last season, has graduated to the Formula Renault 3.5 series this year and will compete for Fortec Motorsports.
The Belgian joins fellow Formula Renault 3.5 driver Kevin Magnussen, son of former McLaren race driver Jan Magnussen, and EuroCup driver Nyck de Vries on the programme.
The initiative is designed to build on the young drivers’ racing performances as they climb the motorsport ladder as well as providing guidance in the off-track skills demanded of a racing driver.
Last year, McLaren ran Magnussen, who joined the team in 2010, at the young drivers test in Abu Dhabi, with the Dane topping the timesheets on the opening day.
Vandoorne said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have been selected to be part of the McLaren Young Driver Programme.
“McLaren is one of the greatest names in global motorsport, and to be a part of the McLaren Young Driver Programme is an honour and a privilege which I fully intend to do my very best to maximise in terms of both learning and results for years to come.
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: “We’re delighted to announce that Stoffel is now part of the McLaren Young Driver Programme. He’s an able and ambitious young driver, and we have high hopes for him.”
Vandoorne began karting aged six and moved in single-seater racing in 2010 when he competed in the F4 EuroCup 1.6 series.
The Belgian won the championship with two races remaining and then made the step up to EuroCup Formula Renault 2.0, finishing fifth overall in 2011.
The following season he improved his consistency, clocking up 244 points to take the championship.