Roman Rusinov is a Russian racing driver who achieved the greatest results in recent years in the European Le Mans Series and FIA World Endurance Championship.
He was ELMS champion in 2018 and finished in the top 3 of the FIA WEC MP2 class for four years in a row between 2013 and 2016, including world championship title in 2015. At Le Mans 24 Hours, he was on the LMP2 podium two times. Earlier in a career, Rusinov was the 2004 Le Mans Endurance Series GT class champion.
Three seasons in Formula Renault championships
Born in October 1981 in Moscow, Rusinov entered international racing in 1999, participating in the French Formula Renault Campus and finishing 10th in the final standings.
Next year, he became the first Russian driver to win an international race, scoring one race victory in the Formula Renault 2.0 France. After eight races, he finished seventh in the championship. Rusinov spent one more season in the Formula Renault with Graff Racing, not scoring wins anymore. He also participated in four races of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup.
Third place in the 2002 Formula Palmer Audi
In 2002, Rusinov participated in the Formula Palmer Audi. He scored one victory and seven podiums during a season, leading in the classification until the season's finale. In the last race, he crashed out and dropped to the third place in the final standings, behind Adrian Willmott and Joel Nelson.
In 2003, Rusinov joined Italian GP Racing team in the Euro Formula 3000 Series, driving the #5 Lola-Zytek. Without wins or podiums, he finished ninth in the points. It was his last season in the single-seater racing, as he focused his interest in sports car racing since 2004.
Victorious beginning of the sports car racing career
Rusinov had a successful debut in the sports car racing in November 2003, joining Courage Competition at Le Mans 1000 km race at Bugatti Circuit. He was sharing a Courage C65 prototype with Wim Eyckmans and Enrico Muscioni, finishing fourth overall and first in the LMP675 class.
In 2004, Rusinov spent the full season of the Le Mans Endurance season with Italian JMB Racing, driving the #70 Ferrari 360 Modena. In four races, he was a race winner once, at Silverstone, clinching a championship title in the LMGT class. His partner in that victory was Stephane Daoudi. His other two co-drivers during a season were Jaime Melo and Bert Longin.
FIA GT Championship season with Maserati
In 2005, Rusinov stayed with JMB Racing, driving the #16 Maserati MC12 GT1 in the FIA GT Championship. His co-drivers were Chris Buncombe and Philipp Peter. Rusinov ended a season 17th in the GT1 class standings.
Rusinov also participated in one round of the inaugural season of the A1 GP Series, driving for A1 Team Russia in Australia in November 2005.
Test driver for Midland F1 Team
In 2006, Rusinov was appointed as a test driver for Midland F1 Team, known also as MF1 Racing. The team was created after Alex Shnaider, a Canadian businessman with Russian roots has bought Jordan Grand Prix team.
He wanted a Russian driver in Formula 1 but lack of Russian sponsors prevented Rusinov's debut in Formula 1. Christijan Albers and Tiago Monteiro raced for MF1 Racing instead.
Return to sports car racing with Reiter Engineering
In 2008, Rusinov returned to sports car racing by joining Reiter Engineering and participating in three different competitions with Reiter's Lamborghini Murcielago. He and Peter Kox participated in the Le Mans Series under the banner of IPB Spartak Racing, scoring three GT1 podiums and finishing fourth in the points.
In the FIA GT Championship, Rusinov scored no wins or podiums, finishing 15th in the GT1 class. He participated also in the ADAC GT Masters, winning two times in the Team Flatex-Reiter's Lamborghini. In June 2008, Rusinov made a debut at 24 hours of Le Mans, sharing the #55 IPB Spartak Racing Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT with Peter Kox and Mike Hezemans. They were out of classification, making 266 laps in 24 hours.
Le Mans attempt with Ferrari
In 2009, Rusinov participated in just two races. In April, he joined Peter Kox at Catalunya 1000 km race, a part of the FIA GT Championship. Driving the #55 IPB Spartak Racing Murcielago, they finished 13th overall and first in the GT1 class.
In June 2009, Rusinov returned to Le Mans with British Team Modena, driving the #83 Ferrari F430 GTC. His co-drivers were Pierre Ehret and Leo Mansell. They finished seventh in the GT2 class.
Reactivation in the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship
Rusinov was three seasons out of racing, reactivating himself in 2012. He entered the revived FIA World Endurance Championship with Signatech-Nissan team, driving the #26 Oreca 03-Nissan.
G-Drive Racing was created in 2013
In 2013, the Russian G-Drive Racing team has been created, led by Alexander Krylov. In the next five seasons, it became one of the most successful teams in the FIA World Endurance Championship, with Roman Rusinov as team's main driver.
Between 2013 and 2017, Rusinov scored sixteen LMP2 victories and captured the LMP2 championship title in 2015.
Four wins and third place in the 2013 FIA WEC
In the first season with G-Drive Racing, Rusinov was driving the #26 Oreca 03-Nissan together with Mike Conway and John Martin. They were excluded at Le Mans from the third place, following scrutineering by officials, which founded a fuel tank of illegal capacity.
The #26 crew scored their first victory in the next round at Interlagos. Until the end of the season, they won three more times (COTA, Shanghai, Bahrain) and finished third in the FIA WEC LMP2 standings.
In 2013, Rusinov also participated at Nurburgring 24 Hours. G-Drive Racing co-operated with Phoenix Racing, running an Audi R8 LMS for Rusinov, Luca Ludwig, Frank Biela and Christer Jons. They finished 8th in the SP9-GT3 class.
Four WEC wins and runner-up spot in 2014
For the 2014 FIA WEC season, Rusinov had new co-drivers in the #26 car – Julien Canal and Olivier Pla. They have won two races and retired at Le Mans with Morgan LMP2-Nissan before switching to Ligier JS P2 prototype in the fourth round. They were race winners two more times with a new car, finishing second in the championship.
Outside prototype racing, Rusinov participated full season in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup in an Audi R8 LMS, not scoring wins or podiums.
World LMP2 champion in 2015
They won the season-opening race at Silverstone and three more races (COTA, Fuji, Bahrain) after that, capturing a championship title in the LMP2 class. At Le Mans, they were third in the class.
One more Le Mans podium in 2016
In 2016, G-Drive Racing had a technical partnership with British Jota Sport, running two different cars in the World Endurance Championship but also in the European Le Mans Series. Rusinov continued to drive the #26 car, the Oreca 05-Nissan.
He was the only full-time driver in the #26 crew, sharing a car with five co-drivers during a season – Rene Rast, Nathanael Berthon, Will Stevens and Alex Brundle. He won the last three races of the season (Fuji, Shanghai, Bahrain) and finished third in the points. At Le Mans, Rusinov, Rast and Stevens finished second.
New partnership in the 2017 FIA WEC season
For the 2017 FIA WEC season, a new technical partnership occurred between G-Drive Racing and French team TDS Racing. Rusinov gets new co-drivers in the new #26 Oreca 07-Gibson.
Pierre Thiriet was his full-time partner. Alex Lynn participated in five races as the third driver, including a victory at Spa and DNF at Le Mans, where they retired after a collision on lap 20. Other two drivers in the #26 car were Ben Hanley and James Rossiter. At the end of the season, Rusinov was 9th in LMP2 points.
European Le Mans Series champion in 2018
In 2018, Rusinov stayed in the #26 Oreca but moved to the European Le Mans Series. Sharing a car with Andrea Pizzitola and Jean-Eric Vergne, he scored three wins in five rounds and secured LMP2 title one round before the end of the season.
A trio in the #26 Oreca participated also in two FIA WEC races, winning at Spa-Francorchamps and recording a disqualification at Le Mans. They were disqualified from Le Mans results because the team had illegally modified their refueling equipment in order to fuel both cars quicker than regulations allowed.
In 2019, Rusinov continued to compete in the ELMS with G-Drive Racing, sharing the #26 Aurus 01 LMP2 prototype with Job van Uitert (6 races), Jean-Eric Vergne (4 races) and Norman Nato (2 races). They came to season-closing race at Portimao as championship leaders but lost a title by four points to IDEC Sport crew.