After a disappointing start to his comeback to circuit racing, where Robert Kubica dropped out of the LMP1-Privateer team ByKolles ahead of the opening round of the 2017 World Endurance Championship, Kubica is still determined to join the endurance grid as he picked up an LMP2 test ahead of next month’s blue ribboned event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Polish driver has completed the two-day test at Monza with the returning LMP2 team SMP Racing alongside driver’s Maurizio Mediani and Viktor Shaytar. The team took to the Italian circuit as part of their Le Mans preparation as they have not had a full season entrant in WEC this season. Since stepping away from racing the full season with ByKolles, Kubica has tested a variety of single-seater cars, including GP3 and Formula E vehicles.
“It will be my pleasure and an honour to help SMP Racing prepare its car for a race as important as the Le Mans 24 Hours,” Kubica said ahead of climbing into the cockpit. “We definitely have a lot of tasks for the two days of testing. But I am sure that, with Maurizio and Viktor and the team, we will gather a lot of useful information to find the optimal set-up for the car.”
SMP Racing have already confirmed that Russian Renault Formula One reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin and IndyCar driver Mikhail Aleshin will join Shaytar in the #27 for the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. Kubica got the call to join the team for the test as both Sirotkin and Aleshin were busy with their own commitments this weekend, with Aleshin racing in the Indy500 and Sirotkin is in Monaco for F1 test driver duties.
“It’s an incredibly tight schedule, and so neither Mikhail Aleshin, nor Sergey Sirotkin were available for the Monza test,” Shaytar said, commenting on the reason that his two Le Mans team-mates were vacant from the Monza test. “But the experience and skill of Maurizio Mediani and Robert Kubica is exactly what we need to set up our car.”
Although this test may not lead to a Le Mans debut for Kubica, getting all these tests and running on circuits is only positive steps as he tries to get back into circuit racing after being forced out of F1 due to his horrific rally crash in 2011 that saw him damage his right arm severely.