Jenson Button will make his World Endurance Championship debut at the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours after securing a deal with LMP1 challengers SMP Racing.

The 2009 Formula 1 world champion had been widely linked with a race seat at SMP Racing and has confirmed the deal with the Russian squad which sees him contest the full 2018-19 WEC campaign. Button will co-drive alongside fellow ex-F1 driver Vitaly Petrov as well as Mikhail Aleshin in the #11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 car which is set to make its WEC debut this season.

Button, who stepped away from F1 at the end of last year, will go up against former McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso who has secured a dual campaign after securing a deal with Toyota in WEC.

Button won the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix with Brawn GP in his F1 world title-winning campaign and will therefore also be targeting the second part of his potential ‘Triple Crown’ of motorsport against his former F1 teammate.

“I'm happy to be part of the SMP Racing team at the World Endurance Championship,” Button said. “I know Vitaly well on his performance in Formula 1, and Mikhail on his success in IndyCar.

“I think that with them two and the experience that we have accumulated in different racing series, as well as with the fantastic experience of the team in the endurance race, we will have a wonderful chance to fight in the front ranks and claim victory.”

Button’s confirmation for the WEC campaign, where he will miss the 2018-19 opener and make his debut at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours, sees the full 2018-19 grid completed with an intensely competitive LMP1 field despite the loss of Porsche after it withdrew from the series at the end of last year.

The British driver will combine his WEC efforts with his rookie Super GT campaign in Japan with Team Kunimitsu Honda.

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