Jackie Chan DCR JOTA team co-owner David Cheng is disputing Thomas Laurent’s alleged contract with Rebellion Racing for the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship season, stating that “nothing is signed” with the Anglo-Swiss squad.
The 19-year-old Frenchman enjoyed a standout rookie season in LMP2 competition, claiming three victories, as well as leading the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall at one point, en route to a 1-2 class finish for the Chinese-backed team.
While having been announced on Wednesday as one of Rebellion’s new signings for its move back to LMP1, Cheng alleges that Laurent does not currently have a contract with the team and is still discussing his options for next year.
The WEC Rookie-of-the-Year was not present at the team’s event in Switzerland to announce its 2018 program, despite a quote from Laurent appearing in Rebellion’s press release.
A Rebellion spokesperson, or team manager Bart Hayden, have yet to return Sportcar365’s inquiry on this matter.
“Of course for a young and upcoming driver, a move to LMP1 would be logical, as Thomas has done a great job with us through out the season, at Le Mans and was really impressive at the rookie test,” Cheng said in a statement supplied to Sportscar365.
“I knew that many people have expressed interest in Thomas, but last month we had a letter of intent already to renew Thoma’s contract for our line up of the WEC ‘Super Season.’
“I just saw Thomas last night at our team’s end of year Christmas party last night and he had told me that ‘nothing is signed with Rebellion.’ So of course the announcement came as a surprise.”
Cheng, whose team is set to remain in LMP2 next season despite evaluating a move to the top class, said he understands Laurent’s decision to look at other drives but claims the deal that was announced is not valid.
Rebellion and DC Racing enjoyed a fierce fight for the LMP2 World Championship this year, which went in favor of Bruno Senna and Julien Canal in the No. 31 Rebellion entry following a drama-filled season finale in Bahrain.
“We developed Thomas since the beginning of his career, but we would never stop Thomas from exploring further opportunities, he’ll always be part of our family, if he chooses to race with us or at another team,” Cheng said.
“Ultimately the choice will be his where he feels he wants to go, if he chooses to go with the other team in LMP1 or GTE we will wish him the best and consequently we will have to make some adjustments for our program.
“It’s a shame how the situation developed, but we’ve been discussing as a team on potential courses of action to take, while we await final decisions and signed contracts.”