By: Kobe Lambeth
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has confirmed that Mikhail Aleshin is returning to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2016. The Russian driver spent his 2015 season driving full-time in the European Le Mans Series for AF Racing. He also made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in the BR01 LMP2 car with fellow Russians, Kirill Ladygin and Anton Ladygin. The trio finished 13th in the LMP2 class.
Looking to move away from sportscar racing, Aleshin will return to a series where he had much success in 2014. The Russian driver had a very consistent rookie season in American open wheel racing. However, the season ended on a sad note as Mikhail was injured in 2014 finale at Fontana.
His Number 7 SMP Dallara DW12 Honda was running the bottom on the track in the turn 4. The car spun and hit the wall with a hard impact. Aleshin’s car made contact with the catchfence and he suffered various injuries.
I am so happy to see Mikhail Aleshin return to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2016. He had an amazing season in 2014 and proved that he belongs in American open wheel racing. When I heard that Mikhail was not returning to IndyCar in 2015, I was extremely disappointed. He became one of my favorites in his only season. I understand that U.N. sanctions against Russia played a major role in Aleshin seeking a drive in the European Le Mans Series. It is such a shame when politics impacts a driver’s dream to race in America. What can be done to prevent something like this from happening to our foreign drivers? On the bright side, it is great that Aleshin will race in America full-time in 2016! What is your take on Mikhail Aleshin’s return to IndyCar race fans?
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