Drivers of Russian SMP Racing team won the bronze medal of one of the most prestigious races of the planet - "24 Hours of Le Mans." Crew №37 composed of Vitaly Petrov, Kirill Ladygin and Victor Shaitar for the first time stepped on the podium of the twenty-four-hour marathon on the Russian sport prototype BR01 of LMP2 class.
The second crew of the Russian team at number 27, which included Mikhail Aleshin, Maurizio Mediani and Nicolas Minassian, finished the race seventh.
In the course of the race, both Russian BR01 prototypes once again demonstrated their reliability without any serious technical problems.
It is worth mentioning that this is the second podium for the Russian team at Le Mans by now. Last year, for the first time in history, SMP Racing crew of Victor Shaitar, Alexei Basov and Andrea Bertolini won the top step of the podium in the LMGTE Am class. And now, fully Russian crew on the Russian BR01 prototype won the bronze medal in a prestigious and complex LMP2 class among 23 rivals.
Boris Rotenberg, founder and director of the SMP Racing:
"SMP Racing program is developing, lives. This is another victory in our collection. This podium was not easy for us, but it flows organically from our victory last year and work during all this time. Especially it is pleasing that the winning of the podium was made in our, Russian car - a BR01prototype. The car has shown its best side, it is very reliable. We have a lot of work to do to improve today's result and take the top spot in the race and in the championship. This is one of the most important achievements not only for SMP Racing team, not only for our program, but also for all Russian motorsport. "
Kirill Ladygin, SMP Racing driver:
"Now we are all tired, but despite this we clearly understand what has happened today. This is the exact result for what we have been going purposefully for a long time - we stepped on the podium of the most important race on the Russian prototype BR01. Once it was a distant dream that has come true today, and it is for all of us very, very important. It is a deserved podium, which we won in a fair fight. It is also important to us that we have won a podium in a car with a Russian crew. We prepared, set up this vehicle for our crew.
I want to thank Boris Romanovich Rotenberg, who entrusted us with this complex work, Sergey Zlobin and Dmitry Samorukov, without them all this would be impossible, and all our team. Together, we have achieved this success and I am sure, will achieve even more in the future. "
Vitaly Petrov, SMP Racing driver:
"Today's result is the work of our well-coordinated team. We are all striving for the same goal, which can only be achieved at the solidarity which we now have. Yes, we would like to show an even better result, but it requires a little tweaking of our technique. We are doing everything possible to improve the car, and compete for the highest results."
Victor Shaitar, SMP Racing driver:
"Last year we won here in the GTE Am class with Alexei Basov and Andrea Bertolini. This year the third place is even more valuable to me, because we did it on our own, Russian car. There wasn’t faith in it, and I think this is an adequate response to those who was skeptical about us and our prototype.
Of course, there is still a lot of work to do, but we have shown that anything is possible.
Last year, it was easier to win, both physically and mentally. Then we were on the finished product, on the Ferrari car. Now, we had a lot of work on our car, and during the race we felt all the responsibility that lies upon us. "