American Le Mans: Cosmo leaves Extreme Speed, joins Level 5

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Level 5 Motorsports received a big boost to its bid for the 2013 American Le Mans Series P2 championship, as Guy Cosmo has joined the team following his resignation from rival outfit Extreme Speed Motorsports.

Cosmo (pictured, last year), who is currently tied for third in P2 points with now-former ESM teammate Scott Sharp, will now partner up with Level 5’s Scott Tucker and Marino Franchitti, who are currently first and second in the class standings.

The next race for the ALMS comes this weekend on the streets of Baltimore.

“I’m looking forward to Baltimore, and am very excited to be welcomed on board at Level 5,” Cosmo said in a statement. “I’ve seen first hand how formidable a competitor they’ve proven to be, and their dedication to excellence is clear to everyone.

“It is a championship-caliber organization and I am looking forward to having a strong finish to the season in these next four races.”

As for ESM, they’ve responded by bringing in Anthony Lazzaro to team up with Sharp in their No. 01 entry for Baltimore. Lazzaro, a regular in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series’ GT class, has had prior experience with the group in both P2 and GT entries.

“Anthony knows us, the team, the cars and I think he’ll jump into the No. 01 and do a terrific job as my co-driver in Baltimore,” Sharp said in a team release. “We’re ready to conquer Baltimore and get back on that top step of the podium.”

“I want to thank Guy for representing ESM and [sponsor] Tequila Patrón for the last three years.  On behalf of the team, we wish him well on his future endeavors.”

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.