Besides several Russian drivers who competed in Formula One in recent years, Viktor Shaitar (Victor Shaytar or Victor Shaitar) could be considered as one of the best Russian racers ever.
In the last five years, he collected few championship titles in international competitions, including the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship title and Le Mans 24h victory in GTE Am class. He was also 2016 Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup winner and two-time European Le Mans Series champion in GTE (2014) and GTC (2013) class.
Viktor Shaitar,Victor Shaytar
Successful Formula 1600 Russia and Formula 3 competitor early in a career
Born in February 1983, Victor Shaytar spent the early years of his career in karting competitions and single-seater competitions in Russia. He was the front-runner for many years in the Formula 1600 Russia, winning the championship title in 2002, finishing third in 2006 and finishing second in 2007.
In 2008, Shaytar was third in the Russian Formula 3 and second in Finnish Formula 3, driving for Art-Line Engineering. In the following years, he contested in different competitions, deciding to change a career path in 2013.
The #69 Ferrari was Shaytar's championship winning car in 2013
European Le Mans Series champion in the first year of GT racing
In 2013, Shaytar joined SMP Racing to drive the #69 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 in GTC class of the European Le Mans Series. Despite skipping the season-opening round, Shaytar won four races in a row and won the championship title. His co-drivers in the #69 Ferrari were Fabio Babini and Kirill Ladygin.
In 2013, Shaytar also participated in all five rounds of the Blancpain Endurance Series, driving the #71 Ferrari for SMP Racing. He fought for Pro Cup points in three races and then for Pro-Am Cup points in two races. Together with Kirill Ladygin and Anton Ladygin, he scored Pro-Am victory at Nurburgring. In his debut at Spa 24 Hours, he was sixth overall and second in Pro-Am class.
Shaytar won his second ELMS title in the #72 Ferrari
One more ELMS championship title in 2014
In the 2014 European Le Mans Series season, Shaytar was sharing the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GTC with Andrea Bertolini and Sergey Zlobin. They were race winners two times in GTE class, at Imola and season's finale at Estoril, securing a title in the last race.
In 2014, Shaytar also joined SMP Racing in the LMP2 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, driving the #37 Oreca 03-Nissan in seven rounds. At Le Mans 24 Hours, he was a part of SMP Racing crew in the #72 Ferrari, crashing out from the race after 196 laps. In FIA WEC races, he was on an LMP2 podium three times, finishing seventh in the final points.
SMP Racing - 2015 world endurance champions
World Endurance Championship winner in GTE Am class
In 2015, Shaytar had a full-time commitment with SMP Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship, driving the #72 Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 in all eight rounds together with Aleksey Basov and Andrea Bertolini.
They won GTE Am class at Le Mans 24 Hours and then two more races at Nurburgring and Circuit of the Americas. At the end of the season, the #72 crew took the FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE Am drivers.
Outside FIA WEC, Shaytar joined SMP/AF Racing in two rounds of the European Le Mans Series, driving the #21 BR01-Nissan LMP2 prototype at Paul Ricard (2nd) and Estoril (3rd). His co-drivers were Mikhail Aleshin and Kirill Ladygin.
2016 GT3 Le Mans Cup winners - Aleksey Basov and Victor Shaytar
Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup champion in 2016
Used to win titles every year, Shaytar continued his winning streak in 2016. He was a champion of the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup, the supporting competition to the European Le Mans Series. He was driving the Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 for SMP/AF Corse, winning four of five races together with Aleksey Basov.
He also spent a season in the FIA World Endurance Championship with SMP Racing, driving the #37 BR01-Nissan LMP2 prototype together with Vitaly Petrov and Kirill Ladygin. Their best result was the third place at Le Mans 24 Hours and they finished 9th in the LMP2 final standings.
In 2016, Shaytar also visited Daytona International Speedway to participate in the greatest North American endurance race. In his debut at Daytona 24 Hours, he was sharing the #72 Ferrari 488 GTE with Gianmaria Bruni, Andrea Bertolini and James Calado. They didn't finish the race.
Victor Shaytar, Vitaly Petrov and Kirill Ladygin at 2016 Le Mans podium
No trophies in 2017 and 2018
After four consecutive seasons with championship trophies in his hands, Shaytar was empty-handed in 2017. He spent a full season in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with SMP Racing, sharing the #72 Ferrari 488 GT3 with Miguel Molina and Davide Rigon. Their only podium was the second place at Circuit Paul Ricard and they finished fourth in the final standings of Pro Cup. At Spa 24 Hours, the #72 crew finished only 24th.
Outside Blancpain GT Series, Shaytar made a one-off appearance in the FIA WEC, joining SMP Racing at Le Mans. He was sharing the #27 Dallara P217-Gibson with Mikhail Aleshin and Sergey Sirotkin, finishing 33rd overall and 16th in LMP2 class.
In 2018, Shaytar spent a season driving SMP Racing's Dallara LMP2 prototype in the European Le Mans Series. He was also driving the same car at Le Mans, finishing tenth in LMP2 class.