SMP Racing has increased its involvement in the Blancpain GT Series to include backing one of AKKA ASP’s Mercedes-AMG GT3s in addition to its AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GT3.
Russian drivers Vitaly Petrov and Denis Bulatov will drive the Pro Cup-entered car in the Endurance Cup along with Brit Michael Meadows, who drove for the AKKA ASP crew last season.
Petrov will combine the program with his SMP LMP1 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship and makes his Blancpain GT debut this season.
Nineteen-year-old Bulatov, meanwhile, will compete in GT3 machinery for the first time, graduating from the Renault Clio Cup Central Europe and junior single-seater formulae.
“We are glad to cooperate with the Mercedes team in this prestigious series,” said SMP team boss Boris Rotenberg.
“We have been following the success of the cars of this brand in various competitions, and we already have the experience of working together – our pilot Sergey Sirotkin in Formula 1 on a Williams car, [which uses a] Mercedes motor, and we are confident that continuing the cooperation in the Blancpain series will lead us to new victories!”
AKKA ASP Announces First Pro-Am Lineup
The full extent of AKKA ASP’s Blancpain GT program for 2018 remains unknown although the team has also revealed one of its Pro-Am lineups for the Endurance Cup.
Team regulars Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Mauro Ricci will drive one of its Mercedes along with Nico Jamin.
AKKA ASP was listed with two cars, including the SMP entry, in the pre-selected entry list for the Pro class of the Endurance Cup, and so still has one top-class lineup to reveal, as well as any further Endurance entries or Sprint Cup programs.
It competed with four Mercedes in both the Sprint and Endurance Cups last season, with two each in Pro and Pro-Am.