SMP Racing has confirmed the first driver lineup in its two-car BR Engineering BR01 Nissan effort in next year’s FIA World Endurance Championship.
Newly crowned GTE-Am World Champion Victor Shaytar will step up to the LMP2 class in 2016, joined by Kirill Ladygin and new signing Vitaly Petrov, forming an all-Russian driver lineup.
Drivers have yet to be confirmed in the second BR01, but is likely to feature team veterans Nic Minassian and Maurizio Mediani, who was recently downgraded to Silver driver rating.
Both Petrov and SMP Racing director Boris Rotenberg spoke Monday during a press conference in Moscow, reflecting on the team’s 2015 accomplishments and looking ahead to 2016.
“Thanks to Vitaly, who has agreed to participate with us in this championship,” Rotenberg said. “I also want to thank those who have trained and worked with him throughout his career, to give him the opportunity to race, including Formula One.
“I’m very glad that he will now develop Russian motorsport and share their knowledge and experience in our program.”
Petrov added: “I’m happy that I’m joining SMP Racing; this is a great Christmas gift. Of course 2016 will not be easy, but we know how to achieve results.
“By participating in the World Championship with the new BR01 Russian prototype and the Russian crew in the LMP2 category we are determined to win. But even then we are not going to rest on our laurels and will continue to look towards a higher class in LMP1.”
SMP is known to be exploring a possible LMP1 Privateer effort in the WEC for as early as 2017.