Russian LMP1 team SMP Racing has decided to withdraw from the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship season, reducing the full-season entry for the championship’s top class to six cars.
Boris Rotenberg, SMP Racing’s founder, said the team has achieved the best results it could with its AER-powered BR1s during last season, and will, therefore, bow out.
“For us, it was a difficult season,” Rotenberg said. “We worked a lot on our BR1 prototype. As a result, we were able to show and prove to everyone that the Russian team, Russian drivers and the Russian car are capable of achieving the highest results in the most difficult world championships and in such a prestigious race as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“This is a well-deserved success of everyone who participated in this ambitious project, drivers, SMP Racing and ART GP, BR Engineering and Dallara. Our goal has always been only a victory, and we believe that we achieved this victory with the highest possible result in the given circumstances.
“After the final race at Le Mans (where it scored a third-place finish overall), we decided that SMP Racing will leave the FIA WEC. Our team will not race in 2019-2020 season.”
This news reduces the LMP1 field to six full-season cars. A pair of Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 HYBRIDs, Rebellion Racing R-13s and Team LNT Ginetta G60-LT-P1s remain.
Rebellion is believed to have committed resources for one car whilst it seeks commercial partners to enable its second car to run for the full season.
Team LNT meanwhile, will be on track at Paul Ricard this week as it works towards finalising details for its full-season entry.
ByKolles and DragonSpeed, who also competed in the ‘Super Season’ in LMP1, don’t feature on the entry for the 2019/20 season, though ByKolles stated it will attempt to compete as a race-by-race entry as its focus shifts to developing a new car for the ‘Hypercar’ ruleset.