Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced on Wednesday, December 9 that Mikhail Aleshin will return to the organization for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
“I’m very happy about the agreement between Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and the SMP Racing Russian driver development program,” Aleshin said. “I had an unbelievable experience with IndyCar in 2014 and I can’t wait to be back in this great series. I’m very motivated and 100 percent ready to win.”
Aleshin will be behind the wheel of the No. 7 entry, while having James Hinchcliffe as a teammate in the No. 5 entry.
“He was extremely fast in 2014 and we think, given that year of experience and last year competing in ELMS, he will be able to contribute significantly to the program in 2016,” team co-owner Sam Schmidt said of signing Aleshin.
The 28-year-old ran 17 races for SPM during the 2014 season, as well as the 2015 season finale at Sonoma Raceway. In 2014, he scored a best finish of second at Houston with a total of seven top-10 finishes. In his return at Sonoma, the Moscow, Native qualified 14th, before finishing 10th.
The race at Sonoma marked his first race back in the series following a crash at Auto Club Speedway during the final practice session. The crash left Aleshin on the sidelines as a result of a fracturing some ribs, a broken right clavicle, a concussion and chest injuries. Aleshin would get down below the white line in the corner, resulting in the car sliding sideways. He would then make contact with Charlie Kimball, before cartwheeling into the catch fence. Marco Andretti and Sebastian Bourdais also got a piece of the wreck.