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No SMP Racing Ferrari in 2016

SMP Racing opts against Ferrari WEC GTE program in 2016…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

SMP Racing will not defend its world title in GTE-Am, with the Russian squad set to focus on the LMP2 class with its BR Engineering BR01 prototypes in the FIA World Endurance Championship this year.

Sporting director Sergey Zlobin confirmed to Sportscar365 they will not enter a Ferrari in either the GTE-Pro or GTE-Am ranks, despite initially evaluating a step up to the Pro class with the new Ferrari 488 GTE.

The team debuted the new twin-turbo Ferrari in last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, which Zlobin said is likely to be SMP’s only outing in the GT ranks this year. The Daytona effort was largely run by AF Corse.

SMP’s decision to forgo the GT ranks this year leaves both 2015 GTE-Am champions Andrea Bertolini and Aleksey Basov without rides in the WEC, with Victor Shaytar moving up to its two-car LMP2 effort.

Zlobin confirmed that Kirill Ladygin will complete the lineup in the No. 27 BR01 alongside Nic Minassian and Maurizio Mediani.

Both David Markosov and Russian GP2 driver Sergey Sirotkin, meanwhile, could fill the third seat in the No. 37 car with Shaytar and Vitaly Petrov for the regular season races.

Mikhail Aleshin, who scored the Prototype class pole at Daytona last weekend, will take Ladygin’s seat in the No. 27 car for Le Mans, and Ladygin instead being placed in the No. 37 entry for the French endurance classic.

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

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Jason

    February 2, 2016 at 10:28 am

    What the heck will you do with that perfectly good Ferrari 488 that ran at Daytona? Sell it?

    • Tarek R

      February 2, 2016 at 10:50 am

      I think it was an all AF Corse effort with the 488 GTE.

    • Sabre-aN

      February 2, 2016 at 10:51 am

      I believe AF Corse ran the car at Daytona, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they never owned it in the first place, it’s probably AF Corse’s so will probably be one of their two WEC GTE PRO entries.

  2. Christian

    February 2, 2016 at 10:52 am

    No surprise here. They really want to win the LMP2 WEC championship this year since it’ll be their last with the BR01. I’ll be cheering for them. Excellent effort by the crew.

  3. Greg

    February 2, 2016 at 11:40 am

    So what does this leave us in WEC GT Pro? Aston Martin (2 or 3 cars?),AF Corsa (2 cars?), and the 2 Fords.

    • Steven G

      February 2, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      And 1 Porsche and just 2 astons.

    • NathanC

      February 2, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      It would be the Aston Martins, Proton-Porsche(Maybe, I dunno), AF Corsa Ferraris, Corvettes, 2-4 Ford GTs (Ganassi & Multimatic), and/or the Risi Competizione or Scuderia Corse Ferraris. I think thats about right, I think…

      • DS

        February 2, 2016 at 1:39 pm

        Current WEC:
        2 Aston Martin
        2 AF Corse
        2 Ford GT
        1 Proton

        LM24 additions:
        2 Porsche NA
        2 Ganassi Ford
        2 Corvette
        1 Risi
        1 Scuderia Corsa

  4. David Chaste

    February 2, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    AF Corse doesnt want to support an entry that could possibly challenge their own cars. So they told SMP we will “crew” for you anywhere exccept in GTE pro because you might beat us there. Despite SMP slapping Amato Ferrari with wads of cash he wouldnt budge (at the risk of loosing his factory backing).

    Against the prospects of facing teams with unlimited cash at their disposal on their own SMP decided against financial sepuku.

    Just my opinion.

  5. David Chaste

    February 2, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    SMP should race the BR01 in the U.S. Imsa is more likely to work with them on BOP and overall wins are golden in marketing. And they can sell it to other teams here. The car is absolete in the ELMS at lemans and the WEC come next year.

  6. Bjones

    February 2, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Unless someone heard or saw something I did not, the American Porsche will not be at Lemans, but I may be wrong as I heard Manthey will not be provided with cars.

  7. David Chaste

    February 2, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Manthey is going to lemans with 2 cars. 3 Porsche at lemans. 1 for Proton.

    Porsche and ferrari do not want Ford to possibly lock out the podium.

  8. Matty

    February 2, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    This probably opens the door for a GTE-Amateur once again for the Riley Viper. I’m open to that.

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