Jenson Button has completed his maiden test with World Endurance Championship squad SMP Racing at Magny-Cours as he steps up preparations to join the Russian squad for his Le Mans debut.

The 2009 Formula 1 world champion has secured a deal with the Russian squad for the 2018-19 WEC ‘super-season’ starting from this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. Button completed his maiden test with five hours of track time behind the wheel of the BR1 at Magny-Cours to help him familiarise himself with the car before next month’s iconic endurance event.

SMP Racing hit the headlines when fan video footage emerged online showing its BR1 flip at the top of Eau Rouge during the WEC season-opener, 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Matevos Isaakyan’s car was shown in the barriers after flipping over at least once but the driver was fortunate to walk away seemingly unharmed.

Button enjoyed a trouble-free test at the French circuit and is thrilled by his first experience with the LMP1 privateer challenger.

“I’m smiling from ear to ear,” Button wrote in an Instagram post. “Had my first test in SMP Racing BR1 and absolutely loved it, nice for my first test to be around Magny-Cours as it’s one of my favourite circuits and I have a lot of great memories from racing there, it felt very much like old school F1 from when we raced there back in ‘05/‘06.

“A solid five hours of testing and I’m already feeling comfortable behind the wheel of the beast! Still some areas of improvement needed but a good starting point thanks to Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin.”

Button teams up with Petrov and Aleshin in the #11 SMP Racing car this season, with Isaakyan, Stephane Sarrazin and Egor Orudzhev in the #17 car.

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