After a 2015 season with good results for the debutant BR Engineering BR01 LMP2 machine, it was time to leave the conservative approach of competing in the European Le Mans Series to shine in the world stage, facing the top squads of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The pair of prototypes that competed this year in the European stage will now tackle the nine-round championship with a slightly revised lineup, at least for one of its cars. SMP Racing star Mikhail Aleshin is again turning his attention to the IndyCar Series after a year out of the North American category, so one of the seats was left vacant, and to fill the huge void he left, the Russian team called the former Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov to action.
Although Petrov is more known by his time spent with Renault and Caterham, he had his share of sportscar racing while he was still competing in GP2, in 2007, spending a season with the Noël Del Bello Racing and Courage Competition teams, using the Courage LC70 and LC75 models. Splitting between GP2 or other junior formula series and some sportscar competition now became one of the most known practices to achieve all-round experience for Young drivers today, so this doesn’t exactly comes as a surprise.
The other drivers in one of te BR01 machines will be Victor Shaytar and Kirill Ladygin, which brought the three podium that SMP Racing achieved in the current ELMS season, partnered by Anton Ladygin, so there’s a lot to expect from this trio. The other car lineup is still a mystery, although it’s expected that sportscar ace Nicolas Minassian and the Italian driver Maurizio Mediani to come back, probably alongside Anton himself, David Markozov, their current team-mate, or someone else from the batch of drivers covered by the SMP Racing program.
PHOTO: SMP Racing