Stephane Sarrazin has been announced as the new driver of the Russian SMP Racing team for the next WEC 2018-2019. The French driver signed with his new team after driving for 6 years with the Toyota team. The arrival of Fernando Alonso had relegated him to a second plane in the team and has decided to embark on a new adventure. Sarrazin, who will compete in the LMP1 category, will share team with Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov.
Sarrazin, who is also a former Peugeot driver, took part in a total of 37 races with the Toyota team, winning three times and getting two podium finishes in the legendary Le Mans event, one in 2013 and the last in 2016.
Boris Rotenberg, founder of SMP Racing announced the signing of Sarrazin: “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.”
Stephane Sarrazin also had his words for his new team: “This is a new challenge and an excellent experience for me after six seasons of working with Toyota. 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 all my strength, all my positive attitude and accumulated experience.”
Also from his former team, the president of Toyota Gazoo Racing, Histake Murata wanted to send a message: “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.”