Sergey Sirotkin has claimed that he is due to participate in at least two FIA World Endurance Championship rounds with SMP Racing in 2019.
As Jenson Button has confirmed that he will scale back his WEC commitments this season due to Super GT clashes, a seat is available and needs to be filled in the #11 SMP Racing Privateer LMP1. The team may decide to only run two drivers for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, but due to the duration of the 1,000 Miles of Sebring they will require three drivers.
Sirotkin could find himself behind the wheel of a BR Engineering BR1 as soon as March for the WEC’s American round. This would come just six months after the Russian driver, who was backed by SMP to get into Formula One last year, lost his 2019 Williams Racing F1 drive to Robert Kubica.
“WEC is not even an option, it is almost an obligation,” Sirotkin told Autosport. “I can almost guarantee you that you’ll see me racing in WEC.
“I think it is clear for which team and in which car. Maybe even from Sebring onwards, and Le Mans for sure.”
Although Button has confirmed he will return to SMP Racing and the #11 car for the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, Sirotkin is sure that he too will have a seat for the 24-hour event. This indicates that there may be a further mix up to the SMP Racing driver line-ups before the end of the 2018/19 WEC season.
The 2017 rendition saw Sirotkin’s Le Mans debut, where he raced in an SMP Racing-run Dallara LMP2. Along with his team-mates, the Russian driver finished 16th in class. However, Sirotkin does not think that his LMP2 experience around the Circuit de la Sarthe will be that helpful if he fields an LMP1 car in this year’s event.
“It is a completely different story compared to F1, so I don’t think it will help me much,” Sirotkin said, discussing stepping up from a lower series. “That’s why I think that before Le Mans I’ll do a few races to get to know the car better, understand it, what to pay attention to and so on.”
There has not been an official word or confirmation from SMP Racing about Sirotkin’s involvement with the team’s WEC LMP1 programme.