Newly crowned LMP2 world champion Sergey Zlobin is set for a switch to the GTE-Am ranks next year as part of an expanded effort for SMP Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Zlobin confirmed to Sportscar365 the Russian squad’s plans to field a Ferrari F458 Italia GT in addition to its two new LMP2 class BR01 prototypes.
The Bronze-rated Zlobin, who also claimed the European Le Mans Series GTE title this year with SMP, will make way for a to-be-determined Silver-rated driver to join Nic Minassian and Maurizio Mediani in the lead BR01.
His 2014 LMP2 world title was clinched in last weekend’s season-ending Six Hours of Sao Paulo, where Zlobin, Minassian and Mediani recorded a runner-up finish following an early retirement for the championship-leading G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan.
“It’s a good day for me,” Zlobin told Sportscar365 post-race. “I have good teammates with Nicolas and Maurizo and the best engineer. It’s teamwork, it’s not only just me. I think it’s good luck for me but good for the whole team.
“We had no chance in fighting with the Ligier because the car is in a different category. But before the race I told my engineer, ‘Luigi, we will win this championship.'”
Zlobin, who also serves as the team’s sporting director, capped off a remarkable year for SMP that saw a total of three class championships between the ELMS and FIA WEC alone.
On-track testing for its new LMP2 car is scheduled to begin early next year.