24h Le Mans
24 Hours of Le Mans – Reactions from the drivers in the #11 BR Engineering BR1-AER
Vitaly Petrov, Mikhail Aleshin and Stoffel Vandoorne had a very reliable car in the BR Engineering BR1-AER, which took them to the third step of the podium. The three SMP Racing drivers give their impressions on this excellent result for the Russian team and their non-hybrid prototype.
We’ve done such a lot of hard work with this car since last year. We started out with a lot of mechanical problems. The last Le Mans wasn’t good for us, we had problems just one hour in, but now finally everything is working. The whole team really believed in us and gave us this opportunity with the Toyota guys here, to fight at the highest level in LMP1. SMP and ART Grand Prix have all been working really hard bring us to this day.
We’ve been preparing for this race for one year, when we started racing with the BR1. We’ve been developing it over the year, and did a few small things, and those small things made up the bigger picture! I’d like to thank all the SMP Racing team and Boris Rotenberg for giving us this opportunity to be here. It’s a really big deal for us. Le Mans is one of the greatest races and you never know what might happen. For example, Thomas Laurent overtook me when I was having trouble warming up my tyres, and I decided not to risk it. But then he crashed on the same lap! It’s all about how much you gamble. Rebellion worked really hard, no less than us, and they also deserve this third place but this time we were a bit luckier. Let's see what will happen next year!
My first experience here in Le Mans was a fantastic one. I finally got the opportunity to compete in WEC and I’m very happy. It was a difficult race, but we had some good pace when it mattered. We stayed out of trouble, and I hope to be back at some point and have another shot at victory. I have a very good relationship with Art Grand Prix going back to my GP2 days, so straight away I felt at home. My teammates made me feel at home, they gave me all the information I needed to be successful here at Le Mans, so a huge thanks to them.
PHOTO: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES DU MANS, SATURDAY 15 JUNE 2019, RACE. The SMP Racing #11 BR Engineering BR1-AER driven by Vitaly Petrov, Mikhail Aleshin and Stoffel Vandoorne.