Ex-F1 driver Petrov joins SMP Racing for 2016 WEC season

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Former Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov will move into the FIA World Endurance Championship next season with SMP Racing in the LMP2 class.

Petrov raced for Renault and Caterham in F1 between 2010 and 2012, becoming the first Russian driver to race in the series and recording a best finish of third in the 2011 Australian Grand Prix.

After taking a year out of racing in 2013, Petrov moved into DTM with Mercedes for 2014, but failed to score any points.

Now, the Russian will prepare to make his WEC debut with SMP Racing, which will expand its involvement in the LMP2 class of the championship with its BR Engineering cars in 2016.

SMP Racing unveiled Petrov at its end of year press conference in Russia earlier this week, confirming that he will race one of two LMP2 cars to be entered into the WEC.

It also announced that Petrov will be joining its development programme that looks to help young Russian drivers move up the motorsport ladder.

“Friends! I want to tell you the news – I will spend 2016 with SMP Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship!” Petrov wrote on Instagram.

“I want to personally thank Boris Romanovich Rothenberg for giving me the opportunity to fly the Russian flag in the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race.”

Petrov’s arrival on SMP Racing’s endurance programme follows Mikhail Aleshin’s return to IndyCar for 2016, when he will race for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Petrov may not have raced in the WEC before, but he has one previous appearance at Le Mans, taking part in the 2007 race for Noël del Bello Racing.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.