Rebellion Racing’s future remains unclear, amid rumors of the team’s imminent departure from the LMP1 Privateer class of the FIA World Endurance Championship. (En Français)
Team manager Bart Hayden wouldn’t confirm or deny reports that the Anglo-Swiss squad could be pulling the plug on its LMP1 Privateer program, possibly even before the end of the year, amid growing concerns over the future of the prototype subclass.
“Everything is a rumor and we cannot prevent rumors from circulating,” Hayden told Endurance-Info. “We will know more by Mexico but I have no idea on what we will do in 2017.”
Hayden said there are multiple options for next year, from pulling out of LMP1 to moving to the European Le Mans Series in LMP2 or even mounting a partial-season Prototype class effort in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The team’s Rebellion R-One AERs, which debuted in 2014, would again need to be updated to the WEC’s revised LMP1-L regulations for next year, which sees aero, weight and other mechanical changes.
DRS, meanwhile, is expected to be rolled out to the subclass in 2018, which will likely add further costs for privateers.
“The concern is not to propose a new kit for [next year], it’s just that it will require additional financial resources,” Hayden said.
“What will be the face of LMP1 Privateer be in 2017? Strakka and SMP have said it’s premature for them. Apart from Kolles and us, there are no others in sight of arriving.”
Hayden said a partial-season program in the WeatherTech Championship, likely around the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, or a return to the ELMS, also in LMP2, could become viable options instead.
“There’s an interest in going to the U.S. but it’s still complicated for a European team from a logistical point of view,” he said.
“I think it’s too late to implement a full-season program [for 2017]. In contrast, why not do the NAEC rounds?
“The WEC is a beautiful championship but it costs a lot of money. We have to think about what we really want.”
Should Rebellion switch to the P2 ranks, in either Europe or North America, a continuation with its current chassis partner could become a logical solution.
“We’re studying different options,” Hayden said. “ORECA has a new [P2] car and they would love to keep us as a customer.”