SMP Racing Announce Petrov, Aleshin for BR1 Prototype Debut


Mikhail Aleshin has been announced as one of SMP Racing's drivers
Credit: Forrest Mellott / IndyCar

SMP Racing will debut their BR Engineering BR1 prototype in the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season, with the Russian outfit confirming that Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin will be a part of their driver line-up.

The Russian privateer outfit will field two entries in partnership with ART Grand Prix, and with both Petrov and Aleshin having been a major presence in the testing and development programme of the LMP1 challenger, it was clear that the two Russian drivers would be part of the driver line-up.

Former Formula 1 racer Petrov has been racing in LMP2 for the past two seasons, and returns to SMP Racing after a year away with CEFC Manor TRS Racing, while Aleshin has been plying his trade in the Verizon IndyCar Series but has raced with SMP Racing in the last three 24 Hours of Le Mans events.

SMP Racing boss Boris Rotenberg said history will be made in 2018 when Russian drivers will race in Russian cars in the top level class of the World Endurance Championship.

“The upcoming season will not be easy for us, but I’m sure it’ll be a spectacular one for Russian fans,” said Rotenberg on Autosport. “For the first time in world championship history, Russian drivers will compete in the top class – LMP1 – in Russian cars.

“Our drivers are not only familiar with prototype racing, but themselves took part in developing this car and know it from top to bottom.”

The remaining four drivers will be announced in due course, although the likes of Matevos Isaakyan and Egor Orudzhev, both race winners in the World Series Formula V8 3.5 championship in 2017, have been linked to two of the vacancies.