Rebellion Racing team manager Bart Hayden has not ruled out the team potentially entering additional IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races this year, and admitting that it could take on a full-season campaign by as early as 2018.
The Anglo-Swiss squad, in its return to IMSA competition for the first time since a partial-season effort in 2013, has confirmed a four-race schedule around the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races with a single Oreca 07 Gibson.
It’s in addition to two full-time LMP2 entries in the FIA World Endurance Championship, with the team having confirmed the remainder of its lineup on Monday.
“I think at the moment probably the program we’ve got is challenging enough,” Hayden told Sportscar365.
“I know that Alexandre Pesci [team owner] is excited about the NAEC races. He’s going to come over for the Daytona race, so that’s really good news.
“You never know, he might come over and think let’s have a crack at the championship. I think that’s unlikely for ’17, but maybe for ’18.”
The team has established a U.S. base at the Robertson Racing shop in Buford, Ga., which Hayden said could be used as a stepping stone into a potential full-season effort in the future.
The former privateer Ford GT squad is also providing logistics support, including the use of one of its transporters.
“The facility that the Robertson Racing guys have got over in Atlanta is good,” Hayden said. “Once you’ve established that working relationship, if you can maintain it, it’s the obvious thing to do.
“Some of the headaches we had prior to that arrangement were, where are we going to base ourselves? What are we going to do? I’m pleased to say it’s been working really well.
“With that to one side you can focus more on the program and prepping the cars. It’s kind of one step at a time in a way.
“Doing the four races allows us to be a big part of the championship without making the big commitment of personnel having to be here all the time. So let’s see how it goes.”
For now, Hayden said they plan to utilize the same crew for both the IMSA and WEC programs, although keeping one of its Oreca-Gibsons Stateside to ease the logistical challenges.
It will, however, have additional staff at Daytona for the team’s first race of 2017, and the first with the new-spec LMP2 contender.
“There’s an element of learning, and trying to also expedite the process of getting the car ready,” Hayden said.
“We’ve probably got a few more than we really need or would normally have, but that should hopefully shortcut the process for when we get the two WEC cars.
“At the minute we’re not going to have two crews per se, but that may change depending on the way the races pan out and the testing schedule pans out.”