Jenson Button scraps Le Mans plans

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Jenson Button withdraws from 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours, Stoffel Vandoorne jumps in

JB SMP Racing 2019

Jenson Button will no longer compete for SMP Racing at the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours because he feels that there’s no chance of winning against the Toyotas.

In a frank press release, the 2009 Formula 1 champion detailed his reasons for cancelling his World Endurance Championship ‘superseason’ stint with SMP.

He raced at the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours but the SMP LMP1 car failed to finish due to an engine failure after 315 laps.

“I decided to withdraw from the FIA WEC for the 2019 Le Mans race. I really enjoyed driving for SMP Racing and was happy to be on the podium with this team [at Shanghai],” said Button. “But I decided that now I need to spend more time at home with my fiancé during her pregnancy rather than two weeks at Le Mans.  

“The decision has been made easier for me as I feel that the Toyota is currently unbeatable,” he added.

Ex-Toro Rosso F1 driver Brendon Hartley helped the team to third at Sebring, but will step aside for Spa and Le Mans as former McLaren F1 driver and current HWA Formula E racer Stoffel Vandoorne replaces him.

The 27-year-old Belgian said: “The LMP1 cars are really demanding and their performances are very close to Formula 1. I will have the opportunity to re-join ART Grand Prix and a lot of people that I’ve been working with during my successful campaign in GP2. Also, it´s great to work alongside such experienced drivers as Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin.”

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