Stephane Sarrazin has signed with SMP Racing for its LMP1 program in the FIA World Endurance Championship, with the Frenchman set to pilot one of the team’s BR Engineering BR1 AERs in the 2018-19 ‘Super Season.’
The former Peugeot and Toyota LMP1 factory driver joins the previously confirmed Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov in the two-car operation.
Driver pairings have yet to be confirmed.
“I’m pleased to welcome Stephane to the ranks of SMP Racing,” said team founder Boris Rotenberg. “He is a truly universal, fighting driver who will take part in his 17th and 18th editions of Le Mans under the Russian flag.
“I’m sure that the invaluable experience he gained at Toyota… will help us in our debut in the LMP1 category with the BR Engineering Russian prototype.”
Sarrazin had been part of the Japanese manufacturer’s LMP1 program from the start in 2012, contesting 37 WEC races and claiming three victories, as well as podium finishes at Le Mans in 2013 and 2016.
His most recent outing came at Circuit of The Americas last year, as a substitute for Anthony Davidson, who has since been moved to test and reserve driver status amid the addition of Fernando Alonso to its full-season lineup.
“This is a new challenge and an excellent experience for me after six seasons of working with Toyota,” Sarrazin said.
“With SMP Racing, I have known for a long time, this is a strong and experienced team. And I am convinced that we will achieve all the goals set with this new BR1 car of the LMP1 class.
“To do this, I will put [in] all my strength, all my positive attitude and accumulated experience.”
Toyota Pays Tribute to Sarrazin
While not having a confirmed race seat for 2018-19, Sarrazin had “chosen to leave” Toyota, according to a statement from the manufacturer.
“Stephane is one of our original Le Mans drivers from 2012 so we have experienced many emotions together,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata.
“He brought experience and determination to our project, contributing significantly to the development of our team and technology.
“For this we sincerely thank him and wish him well for the future. We are looking forward to competing with Stephane again in WEC this season, which we expect to be an exciting one for endurance fans.”