Ex McLaren driver and HWA Formula E star,  will make his WEC debut with Russian team at the upcoming TOTAL -Francorchamps (Saturday 4th May) and for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, replacing Jenson Button in the number 11 BR Engineering BR1-AER.  

The Belgian driver will get another opportunity to drive at his home race (Vandoorne was born in Kortrijk and grew up in Flanders).

Vandoorne will partner Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin, who will assist Vandoorne in getting up to speed with LMP1 machinery.

Button’s decision to stand down from the team apparently stems from wanting more time at home and an an apparent lack of competitiveness against the LMP1 Toyotas.

“I really enjoyed driving for SMP Racing and was happy to be on the podium with this team, but I decided that now I need to spend more time at home with my fiancée during her pregnancy rather than two weeks at Le Mans”, Button told Autosport.

“The decision has been made easier for me as I feel that the Toyota is currently unbeatable.”

Image SMP Racing