Former Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov made a return to racing in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2016, having spent a year on the sidelines.
Petrov, 31, raced in Formula 1 with Renault and Caterham between 2010 and 2012, claiming the first podium for a Russian driver at the 2011 Australian Grand Prix.
Since losing his Caterham seat at the end of 2012, Petrov’s only racing experience came when he contested the 2014 DTM series for Mercedes, though he finished the campaign without a point.
Petrov returned to the cockpit with SMP Racing in the LMP2 division of last year’s WEC.
“I want to tell you the news. I will spend 2016 with SMP Racing, in the World Endurance Championship,” Petrov posted on social media.
“Together with the Russian crew [we will] defend the colours of the tricolour in the famous Le Mans 24 Hours.”
Vitaly Aleksandrovich Petrov is a Russian racing driver who drove in Formula One for Renault F1 Team in 2010, Lotus Renault GP in 2011 and Caterham F1 Team in 2012. Born in Vyborg, he is known as the “Vyborg Rocket” in Russia.
He was the first Russian to compete in the Formula One World Championship. Unlike most top drivers, Petrov did not begin his career in karting, as there was very little motorsport where he lived.
He began competing in motorsport in 1998, when he took part in rally sprints and ice races. Afterwards he began competing in the Russian Lada Cup in 2001. He remained in the series for 2002 dominating the championship, winning each round to amass the maximum points total of 500.
In 2003, Petrov began racing in the Formula Renault championships. His main campaign was in the Italian Formula Renault Championship for Euronova Racing, finishing 19th overall. During the year, he competed in several rounds of the Euro Cup Formula Renault 2.0, and finished fourth in the British Formula Renault Winter Series at the end of the year, taking one win.