Former Formula One driver and 2009 world champion Jenson Button will return to motor racing this year as he has signed a deal to race for SMP Racing for the 2018/19 season.
The Englishman will compete against his former McLaren team mate at the 2018 LeMans 24 Hours as Alonso has joined Toyota for the 2018 World Endurance Championship season alongside his Formula One commitments.
Button joins former Verizon IndyCar Series driver Mikhail Aleshin and former Formula One driver Vitaly Petrov. Button’s first race with SMP Racing with be the LeMans 24 Hours in June. Speaking following the announcement, Button commented by saying:
I’m delighted to be a part of the SMP Racing team in the FIA World Endurance Championship. 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 and team principal Boris Rotenberg commented by saying:
I’m happy to welcome Jenson Button as a 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. We’re sure our line-up is one of the best and most competitive in the FIA WEC.