Since the start of the FIA World Endurance Championship, Rebellion Racing was the major player when it comes to privateer entries in the LMP1 class, but the lack of competitiveness compared to the factory teams and their hybrid cars was a matter still to be dealt with. Without significant advances in the matter, the Swiss team is going to the LMP2 class from 2017 onwards.
In fact the switch is kind of a comeback to the second prototype class, as they were part of it until 2009 under the Speedy Racing Team Sebah name, then going to LMP1 and changing its name to the current one. The first part of the team’s LMP1 history was made with Lola chassis, with the Toyota powered B12/60 winning the Petit Le Mans twice in 2012 and 2013, then leaving competition in America as LMP1 were no more elegible. In the FIA WEC, the B12/60 shares glories with the Rebellion R-One, created in partnership with ORECA and using initially the Toyota RV8KLM engine and then the AER P60 V6 engine, winning the privateer LMP1 title in every season they competed in FIA WEC.
Rebellion’s plans started to change in the middle of the current season, with the team scaling back to a single entry, announcing that it would focus in the 2017 season and probably a new machine to return to LMP1. Lots of interested people were in discussion with the ACO about solutions to at least reduce the increasing gap between factory teams and privateers, which had even the approval of an improved ruleset for the next year, but Rebellion Racing then joined a number of unconvinced organizations that ruled out a move to LMP1 and opted to stick to the LMP2 class. Team boss Bart Hayden praised the new LMP2 regulations with their expected performance gains and high competitiveness, saying that the team looks forward to race on it.
Even with the ORECA link, it’s still unclear if Rebellion will get the new ORECA 07, and there is also the possibility of competing in the European Le Mans Series and the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, depending of their plans.
PHOTO: Rebellion Racing, Xavier Pompidou