Jenson Button joins SMP Racing from Le Mans Onwards


Jenson Button will join SMP Racing for the full WEC season, from the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Craig Robertson / Race Photography

Jenson Button has become the twenty-third Formula 1 driver to be confirmed on the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans entry list. The 2009 F1 World Champion will race with Russian LMP1 Privateer team SMP Racing for the eighty-sixth edition of the blue-ribbon event.

Button will climb aboard one of the two AER-powered, Dallara-built BR1 machines with teammates Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin as he chases down an overall Le Mans victory. The Brit is currently dedicated to a full season of Super GT racing with Honda, and this season he looks to build on his sportscar racing career.

After Le Mans, Button will stay with the team to complete a full FIA World Endurance Championship ‘Super-Season’ campaign which concludes in 2019 with a second visit to Le Mans.

“As you can imagine it’s always been a dream of mine to race at Le Mans, I think it’s every driver’s dream to take part and hopefully go on to clinch that win at Le Mans, and I’m definitely no different,” said Button.

“My teammates will be Aleshin and Petrov, who I know very well from his racing in F1, and Mikhail from his IndyCar exploits.

“We go to Le Mans to fight for the win. Every driver aims to win every race they go in for, but I think we really do have a good chance of being competitive at Le Mans.”

Button will not join the team for the opening round of the WEC season next weekend, the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, as the race clashes with his commitments in the Fuji Super GT round.

However, the Brit is expected to race at every other round in the championship, including the 6 Hours of Fuji that had a calendar change so that ex-McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso would not have to miss any of the rounds.

Button’s SMP teammates will race at Spa as a duo, whilst the sister SMP car will be piloted by Stephane Sarrazin, Matevos Isaakyan and Egor Orudzhev.