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SMP Racing Confirms BR01 Entry for Daytona

SMP Racing to run BR01-Nissan LMP2 in Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

BR Engineering’s BR01 Nissan LMP2 car is set for its North American debut, with SMP Racing confirming its entry into January’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.

SMP Racing sporting director Sergey Zlobin confirmed to Sportscar365 plans to enter the Russian prototype in a bid for overall victory in the twice-around-the-clock Florida endurance classic.

A single BR01-Nissan will be entered for Nic Minassian, Maurizio Mediani, Anton Ladygin and a fourth, to-be-announced driver.

“Daytona is a dream for all drivers, teams and constructors,” Zlobin told Sportscar365. “It’s like Le Mans.

“I drove Daytona three times. I had a possible podium in 2002 but we destroyed the engine with 40 minutes to go while leading our class. Two years ago, we were on the podium [in GTD] but then the results changed.

“We need to show how good the car is and to win the big race. We need a trophy.”

Zlobin said the car, chassis No. 1, competing in this weekend’s FIA WEC Six Hours of Bahrain, will be air freighted back to its base in France, then on to Daytona in time for the Roar Before the Rolex 24 on Jan. 8-10.

It will mark the team’s second appearance in the race, after finishing fourth in the GTD class in a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 car, run in cooperation by Tequila Patron ESM, in 2014.

While some LMP2 constructors have voiced concerns over IMSA’s Balance of Performance in the Prototype class, Zlobin said they’ll be focused on running their own race and is hopeful of a positive outcome.

“For us, it’s important to how this car feels [with other] LMP2 cars,” he said. “Daytona Prototypes are really fast in a straight. Nobody understands this.”

No firm plans are in place for the BR01 in WeatherTech Championship races beyond Daytona, although Zlobin admitted they could decide to run Sebring based on the results from Daytona.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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