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Rebellion Poised for Return to LMP1

Rebellion Racing poised to announce LMP1 program for 2018/19 WEC ‘Super Season’…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Rebellion Racing looks set to return to the top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, with a LMP1 program being finalized for the 2018/19 season. (En Français)

The Anglo-Swiss squad, which won the WEC LMP2 title this year, is poised to reverse its initial plans of a two-year commitment to the class, in favor of rejoining the LMP1 ranks amid a rejuvenated grid of privateer entries.

Team manager Bart Hayden told Sportscar365 in Bahrain that a decision would come this month, and could be made official as early as Wednesday, during its end-of-year party in Switzerland.

It’s understood the team is likely to remain with an Oreca-Gibson package, but with both chassis and engine upstaged to LMP1 specifications.

An ORECA spokesperson told Sportscar365 last week that it continues to work on its proposed LMP1 concept and is waiting on the “right time” to move ahead with its plans, whether it’s in time for the 2018/19 ‘Super Season’ or later.

Gibson, meanwhile, has already announced it will build a 4.5-liter version of its LMP2 engine, with DragonSpeed having been the first confirmed customer for its new BR Engineering BR1 effort.

Should Rebellion firm up its plans, it would join an ever-growing list of privateers set to take on the class next year.

SMP Racing has committed to a pair of BR1 AER prototypes, alongside a Ginetta from Manor TRS Racing, the returning ByKolles CLM P1/01 NISMO, as well as DragonSpeed’s new effort.

Jani, Lotterer Linked to Seats

A number of drivers have already been linked to Rebellion’s LMP1 return, including Porsche LMP1 aces Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Auto Hebdo reported last week that the two drivers could join Bruno Senna and Mathias Beche behind the wheel, with 2016 LMP2 World Champion Gustavo Menezes, who drove for the team at Motul Petit Le Mans, reportedly in the frame as well.

Thomas Laurent, who starred in his rookie LMP2 season with Jackie Chan DC Racing, could also make the step up to LMP1.

While it would mark three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer’s debut with the team, Jani has long been a Rebellion driver, having driven for the team as recently as this year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, where he scored pole.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Tyler Sanders

    December 12, 2017 at 9:36 am

    The LMP1 battle amongst the privateers should be very interesting next year.

  2. Anonymous

    December 12, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Rebellion never wanted to leave LMP1 in the first place, so it’s no surprise that they are on the return as soon as the competition increased. It would appear that Oreca can upgrade the 07 to the “09” in time for the start of the “Super Season”.

    But the biggest question still remains… And I know I’ve said this before but, Who has bought those two Ginetta Chassis?! I’m still convinced it’s Signatech Alpine.

    • jason

      December 12, 2017 at 9:49 am

      That would be cool. Granted it would leave LMP2 to be a sandbox for Jackie Chan/Jota to collect trophies. But I don’t care about LMP2 that much, so no big deal. GTE Pro is the class I am most interested. Anybody know what car numbers the BMW M8’s might have?

    • Max

      December 12, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      It’ll be interesting to see how many bits of the R-One show up on this machine. I.e. their optimized engine cover with the short intakes and a few other parts that are likely interchangeable given the R-One -> 05 -> 07 lineage.

      • Tim

        December 12, 2017 at 2:11 pm

        Was the R-One the same monocoque as the 05?

        Kinda off topic but just remember reading something like that.

        • Anonymous

          December 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm

          Yes the R-One was based (albeit loosely) on an Oreca 05, this was done to save money on chassis production. So think of the R-One as an Oreca 05-Evo!

          • Steven

            December 12, 2017 at 6:56 pm

            The R-One was created before the 05… The 05 was based off the R-One as Oreca built that chassis.

    • George

      December 15, 2017 at 9:38 am

      I don’t think it’s Alpine. I thought that LMP2 has a rule that your cannot field a team if you have a production car linked to said team/brand. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’m guessing a possible factory effort. That would certainly spice up the competition.

  3. jason

    December 12, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Big news for sure. I think this large influx of LMP1 privateers would not have happened if not for 1) Porsche withdraw 2)LMP1 hybrids showing poor reliability at Le Mans this year.

    I still think the Toyotas will be the favorite to win each race. Especially the 6 hour events. I don’t think the privateer have much of hope for victory at Spa, Silverstone, Fuji, and Shanghai. Although the privateer teams are chomping at the bit to see if the Toyotas end up expiring in these races longer than 6 hours.

    This current version of the Toyota LMP1 has yet to prove it can be reliable past 6 hours under race conditions. Granted because it should be the fastest car still it won’t have a Porsche 919 to push them to max all the time.

    Remember that there are only 5 WEC races in 2018. IMSA I think should be considered the best sportscar series on the planet in 2018.

    • AudiTT

      December 12, 2017 at 9:58 am

      The WEC season is now over 2 calender years.

      WEC is looking very interesting next season.

    • Tyler Sanders

      December 12, 2017 at 9:58 am

      I would rather watch the WEC than a bunch of tarted up BOPed LMP2 prototypes.

      • jason

        December 12, 2017 at 11:03 am

        I disagree with your statement big time. IMSA has been and will continue to be fantastic. It will be better racing than in the WEC in 2018 no doubt.

        WEC has one huge plus over IMSA and that is their Full Course Yellow procedures. I never find tiring to vent my frustration at IMSA’s stupid wave around safety car procedures which really ruins the integrity of the endurance races in particular. Going back to the article, Rebellion will not see the shores of the USA in 2018 it appears. I hope they still run with the same blue livery they had in late 2017. Its a good look.

        • Tim

          December 12, 2017 at 2:18 pm

          All I know is Sebring 2019 is gonna be amazing! WEC and IMSA at the same track. First race I’m buying tickets for way in advance.

        • gmfanssuck

          December 12, 2017 at 7:00 pm

          NASCAR has the opportunity to have the best and be all fantastic IF they are smart enough to stop with the GM dick sucking.

          Otherwise, not so much and I don’t think they are smart enough. It’s just got to be their way.

      • Davy

        December 13, 2017 at 11:07 am

        I would rather watch IMSA than a bunch of incompetent privateer LMP1s that haven’t even tested their cars yet.

    • TF110

      December 12, 2017 at 11:41 am

      The Porsche was less reliable than the Toyota yet still won Le Mans. The only reliability problem was on the #8 front mgu which was the same problem the winning #2 Porsche had. Porsche didn’t change the battery, Toyota (as a precaution) did. The problem on the #7 was driver induced thanks to the ‘fake marshall’ and the #9 was the victim of Lapierre, again! I think as long as they don’t run into another car, they will be able to finish the race just fine. And hopefully win to break the seeming curse that hits them every competitive year.

      • Yes I’m a Toyota fan but still...

        December 12, 2017 at 10:27 pm

        thank you for this! Toyotas are precieved as the unreliable of the two but the fact is both Porsches suffered major mechanical/electrical problems while only one Toyota did. Not only that but if the winning Porsche had that failure a few hours later a p2 car would have won overall. You can’t say Porsche had the better car when two of the Toyotas were unable to prove if they were reliable or not due to factors beyond their control.

  4. AF

    December 12, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Looking forward to having 11+ LMP1 cars on the grid next year, though it likely comes at the expense of most of the LMP2 teams.

    • Tyler Sanders

      December 12, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Hopefully the big name teams in lmp2 driving the orecas moving up to Lmp1. Allows for some Dallara and Ligier LMP2 machinary.

  5. Edo

    December 12, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Alpine will probably join the lmp1 class from the 2019/20 season, because right now they’re working on their new a110 race car

    • Tim

      December 12, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      I really hope Apline moves up. Technically there a “manufacturer”

      • Luc

        December 12, 2017 at 3:40 pm

        They are ‘just’ a sponsor of Signatech.

        • Steven

          December 12, 2017 at 6:59 pm

          LMP2 rules are no manufacturer branding. Alpine was granted a one year waiver last year and I’m not sure if the WEC are letting them stay in.

      • youngfrankenstein

        December 12, 2017 at 6:58 pm

        Where a manufacturer?

        • Andrew

          December 12, 2017 at 8:23 pm

          Renault has brought back the Alpine nameplate with the new A110. I believe it has started production or is slated to in 2018.

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