The 2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button has signed with SMP Racing to make his Le Mans debut this year. The Brit will be racing the number 11 BR1 LMP1 with another former F1 driver, Vitaly Petrov, and IndyCar refugee Mikhail Aleshin, for the rest of the WEC Super Season.
Button is also contesting the Japanese Super GT series with the GT500 Honda NSX run by Team Kunimitsu and finished second in the season opener at Okoyama. Button will be missing the WEC season opener due to a clash with the second Super GT round at Fuji.
“I’m delighted to be a part of the SMP Racing team in the FIA World Endurance Championship.” said Button. “My teammates for this year will be Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov whom I know very well from his racing in Formula 1 and Mikhail obviously from his IndyCar exploits
“I think with those two and the experience we all have from different types of racing and the team’s fantastic experience in endurance racing we have a great chance to fight at the front and fight for the win and I can’t wait to get going.”
SMP Racing founder, Boris Rothenberg said “I am pleased to welcome Jenson Button as part of our team. He is a top-level driver and Formula 1 Champion. He will race with the Russian BR1 prototype, a car of the top LMP1 category. His teammates will be our strongest drivers Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov. This car was designed with the most advanced motorsport technologies by the best specialists of the Russian company BR Engineering and Italian concern Dallara.
“I’m happy to welcome Jenson Button as a part of our team. We’re sure our line-up is one of the best and most competitive in the FIA WEC.”