Mikhail Aleshin says bad luck prevented SMP Racing from scoring wins on multiple occasions in the Blancpain GT Series last year, and that the team has the potential for strong results this season.
Aleshin, Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina finished last season 20th in the Endurance Cup standings despite fighting for the win in three races and scoring pole at Monza.
The Russian explained that bad luck took their Ferrari 488 GT3, now the only such car in the Pro Cup, out of contention throughout the season.
“We could have won in Monza [last year], we started from pole, and then we had a technical issue,” he told Sportscar365.
“We had technical issues at Paul Ricard, 30 minutes before the finish we were leading with a 50-second gap and we had technical issues there as well.
“That means we have a great potential, the same team, the same driver lineup. I’m very positive about the season. It’s one of the most competitive series.”
The highlight of SMP’s season came with a third-place finish in the finale at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, scoring it 15 of its 23 total points.
Aleshin thinks they have the potential to log some impressive results this year, his second consecutive season in the AF Corse-run entry.
“Our plan is to do everything we’ve done last year, just to do the same and hopefully we’re going to have a bit more luck this year,” he said.
“Last year we could have won at least two races. We have a great potential with the SMP Racing team and car No. 72.
“If we had just finished those two races that we didn’t finish last year, everything would be different. That’s why we’re here, we know our potential and we just need to do it.”
The trio showed promising pace at Monza earlier this month, with Molina running as high as seventh after starting from 25th.
However, an untimely decision to switch to slick tires and a puncture later in the race pushed the Ferrari down the order, to eventually finish 23rd.
“Our strategy, unfortunately, did not work out and the race practically ended for us,” Aleshin explained post-race.
“The results are not the most positive, but I think it’s necessary to always look on the bright side. We had speed in the race and good speed on the dry surface– that’s what matters mostly.
“The potential of the SMP Racing car is excellent and I’m sure we will achieve better results in the future.”
Despite a set-back at Monza, Aleshin is confident that the Ferrari’s true pace will show in dry conditions and that an elusive victory is more than possible this season if the team can avoid further bad luck.
“I know that the Ferrari is a very competitive car and the team is very competitive,” he said. “We’re not counting on anyone else, we’re counting on our car, our team and drivers. That’s fine for me.
“We’re not going to change much, we’re just going to try and avoid bad luck. What plan can you have to avoid bad luck?
“Just don’t think about it and do what you need to do, and you’ll be alright.”