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Rebellion Stripped of Overall Le Mans Podium in Post-Race Exclusion

Rebellion loses overall podium for un-homologated bodywork…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Rebellion Racing has been stripped of its overall podium finish in the 24 Hours of Le Mans after being found to have run un-homologated bodywork to ease access to the starter motor on its No. 13 Oreca 07 Gibson.

Per technical marshals, modifications to the bodywork were found to have been made, not in compliance with the LMP2 regulations, prompting an exclusion for the David Heinemeier Hansson, Nelson Piquet Jr., and Mathias Beche-driven entry, which had finished 3rd overall and second in class.

It’s understood a hole had been made in the bodywork, allowing mechanics easier access to the starter motor to restart the engine after pit stops.

The car suffered issues with its starter motor earlier in the race, which had dropped them from the class lead at the time.

The ACO also determined a second infraction, for “unauthorized intervention in the closed parc [ferme] after the race.”

Rebellion has confirmed plans to appeal the ruling.

For now, it promotes the No. 37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca to second in class and third overall in the results.

It gives the Chinese-backed, British-run team a double overall podium, with the No. 37 car of Alex Brundle, David Cheng and Tristan Gommendy joining class winners Ho-Pin Tung, Thomas Laurent and Olly Jarvis.

Signatech Alpine Matmut, meanwhile, takes the final spot in the LMP2 class podium with its No. 35 Alpine A470 Nissan.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist focusing on European series for Sportscar365. Kilshaw was the founder of WorldSportsCar.co.uk and is a member of the Autosport Academy. Contact Jake

27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Mike S.

    June 19, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Knew some team or car would be reclassified or DQ’ed after the checker. A starter hole, wow. Rules is rules I guess. How much time did they save starting the car with this hole that was what drilled in to the body work?

    • Om3ga73

      June 19, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Well, they couldn’t have started the car effectively otherwise. They had previously gotten a penalty for taking the bodywork off, starting the car, and putting the bodywork on while the car was running (can’t work on it with the engine on), so beyond changing the starter this was probably their best option for not getting a penalty every single pitstop.

      • Ian

        June 19, 2017 at 3:12 pm

        Best option? Getting a penalty after each spot would (in hindsight) be WAY better than being DQ’ed!

        • Andy Flinn

          June 19, 2017 at 3:59 pm

          Hindsight is always 20/20.

          • N8

            June 19, 2017 at 4:18 pm

            Even after the penalty, I saw the engine cover removed from the car at least one more time. I actually thought to myself, are whacking it with a hammer, closing everything up, then just hoping it starts? In hindsight, they must have been installing a different engine cover WITH a hole cut in it.

            Blatant violation, but man, Bart Hayden and the team just never seem to have it go their way.

          • Kirk

            June 19, 2017 at 8:04 pm

            BTW, the correct term is not “hammer”, it’s a “knockometer”. I learned that this weekend while watching LeMans coverage. Watching racing can be both entertaining AND educational.

    • Andy Flinn

      June 19, 2017 at 4:54 pm

      If the WEC keeps disqualifying LMP2s perhaps a non-Oreca/Gibson could finally make it to a WEC LMP2 podium. Otherwise, the future looks bleak for anyone hoping to win – or even podium – in the 2017 WEC LMP2 championship, unless they’re racing an Oreca.

      Congrats to United Autosports in the fourth place Ligier who proved, in the name of chassis innovation and diversity, that it is still possible to be competitive – at least at Le Mans and in the ELMS – in a non-Oreca.

      • Anon

        June 19, 2017 at 9:05 pm

        ELMS is closer, but the Orecas are still #1

  2. Mike S.

    June 19, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Yeah, too bad. I get it. Can’t be too efficient or resourceful in a 24 hour race if its against the rules. I guess changing the starter would of lost them a lot of positions but still a finish though instead of an unclassified result. But these are new cars is the starter accessible or easy to change out in like 30 minutes or an hour?

    • Kurt

      June 19, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      This should be verified, but I BELIEVE the starter and alternator are both packaged inside the bellhousing on the ORECA. Which creates a very clean drivetrain package but is a service downside. Rebellion had to split the BH from the engine when it replaced alternators at Sebring, not sure about the starter though.

  3. Jareth Belanger

    June 19, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    So who can we bitch to about this?

    So much for team being about being resourcful in racing anymore.

    Fuck this news LMP2 format.

    • Tom

      June 19, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Creating a whole in the bodywork could potentially allow air access underneath… coupled with the consistent high speeds at Le Mans they have to rule on the side of caution, lest the bodywork fly-off and impact another’s race. Accident damage is one thing, but purposeful changing is a whole different business.

    • Goggles Piazano

      June 19, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      Repeated stopping and restarting of the engine is a key component of endurance racing. If the starter can’t do its job, it needs to be replaced during the race, and let the chips fall where they may.

    • welp

      June 19, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      So they shouldn’t be punished for trying to hide an illegal modification to the body in tech. Even if you don’t agree that modifying should be allowed, do you also think that teams shouldn’t be penalized for trying to hide stuff while the car is in tech?

  4. David Chaste

    June 19, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Ze French vanthed Alpeeene on ze French pedastaale.

    I watched some french broadcasting and thwre was talk of how unfortunate for Alpine to be 4th and not on the podium. And nir a single french team made the podium. They got their wish. Had Alpine done this it would have been swept under the rug.

    • welp

      June 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      the alpine and oreca are the same car…. all the bodywork is identical, and both are french… are you delusional?

      • David Chaste

        June 20, 2017 at 6:23 am

        Alpine is a french team. Rebellion is not. Not talking about the cars but teams.

        It’s okay if you’re not very good at figuring simple things out. Don’t hide it by calling people dellusional.

  5. Corkscrew

    June 19, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    Why have the Dallaras (Cadillacs) been so dominant on this side of the Atlantic and the Orecas dominant in Europe? I don’t think there will be a car other than a Cadillac that win a race in Weather Tech Series this year. The same could be said of the Orecas in Europe.

    • juneracer

      June 20, 2017 at 1:33 am

      simple, 6.2 liter engine. can’t bet low end torque. IMSA has there plate full trying to deal with that. same issue with the Merc in GTD…

      • Corkscrew

        June 20, 2017 at 12:09 pm

        Agreed. When I heard Cadillac was going to be the DPI entry in the WT Series, I assumed it would use the 3.7L twin turbo. The massive torque advantage of the 6.2L does not bode well for the other DPI entries.

        • GetYerFacts4Free

          June 20, 2017 at 7:42 pm

          This torque advantage you two talk of is currently removed with the IMSA mandated gearing that Caddilac DPi cars have to run. This brings their rear wheel torque below the Gibson cars. FACT!

          • Corkscrew

            June 20, 2017 at 10:48 pm

            Don’t dispute your contention, but how do you explain the fact that nearly all the victories in the IMSA WT Series have come from a Chevy small block? Turbo lag? Can’t believe all the other teams that don’t use Chevy V8s are that uncompetitive.

          • GetYerFacts4Free

            June 21, 2017 at 8:24 pm

            If you look at the stats it will show that the GM small block has better finishing stats. The turbo cars do not have good durability. If you go back to the BMW V8and Ford V8 days you will see the GM engine was equal then on stats. Would you rather have a 4cyl that makes 150hp per cyl, a V6 engine that makes 100hp per cylinder, or a V8 that makes 75hp per cylinder in ENDURANCE racing? They all make the same total amount but the piston, rod, and cooling system only know the hp of a single cylinder. Less power per cyl in BOP (same total hp – 600) endurance racing wins

            The turbo engines can make any amount of torque if the turbo is sized correctly but not as long as the NA V8 can do.

    • tracer

      June 20, 2017 at 6:10 am

      It’ll be interesting to see whether Penske can parlay the Oreca chassis/aero advantage along with the Honda engine of last year to catch and surpass the Cadillac juggernaut next year.

      • petey

        June 20, 2017 at 12:25 pm

        it probably won’t be the same honda engine as the old LMP2s. As reliable as it was I can’t really see them trying to push more power out of it instead of returning to their 3.4L motor

  6. Eric

    June 21, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Or you can have 2 starters like our Dyson Lola did back in the day .

    • GetYerFacts4Free

      June 21, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      Was that not so you could get the car back to the pits once the Mazda engine blew up?

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