Former F1 driver Vitaly Petrov is to make a switch to sportscar racing in 2016 by joining SMP Racing in the LMP2 class of the World Endurance Championship.

The Russian racer, who competed with Renault and Caterham during three seasons of F1 racing between 2010 and 2012, spent much of the 2015 season on the sidelines after a move to the DTM in 2014 with Mercedes failed to yield a single top ten finish.

Nonetheless, he will return to full-time competition in 2016 after signing to join the Russian-financed SMP Racing team, which will step up to the WEC with its BR Engineering BR01 LMP2 entry.

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The BR01 prototype, which has been developed and financed by SMP Racing and Italian outfit AF Corse, made its competition debut this year in the European Le Mans Series and proved competitive, with three podiums from the five events, while it also showed well at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

For 2016, Petrov - who became the first Russian driver to score an F1 podium in Australia in 2011 - will take the position of Mikhail Aleshin, who will focus his attentions on a full season of IndyCar Series racing.