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Habsburg Launches Plan for Fan-Owned LMP2 Entry Next Season

Ferdinand Habsburg launches community-funded LMP2 entry concept where fans choose drivers…

Photo: Brecht Decancq/Team WRT

Team WRT driver Ferdinand Habsburg has launched an initiative to create a community of fans that will own an LMP2 entry in next year’s FIA World Endurance Championship.

Ahead of this weekend’s 6 Hours of Monza, Habsburg announced the Rebel Team, which he described as a “membership club” that will introduce a “decentralized governance” style of managing a race program through the collective power of a group.

Project investors will become members of a community that will make key decisions about the team including Habsburg’s co-drivers, the car livery and race suit designs.

Habsburg told reporters during the launch that Rebel Team’s aim is to break away from the current structure of motorsport commercial deals and decision-making.

He explained that WRT is set to run the car for the Rebel Team-badged program. 

“Some of the things I face every single year that are annoying are trying to find sponsors, partners and teams, and connecting it,” said Habsburg.

“With a lot of those elements, I felt a lot more connected to people who come to watch the races, and less to the people who were actually sponsoring me.

“So I thought, why don’t I transfer some of the stuff I know about modern technology and connect people from different worlds?

“One is gaming, which is becoming a lot bigger. People there love to choose how everything looks and is designed. Also the fans who come to races and online streamers.

“I’ve started a membership club, of which there are 10,000 owners. They will be able to take decisions on driver lineups, liveries of the car, suit designs.

“There will be a governance where instead of teams and sponsors choosing it, people of the membership club will become the team owner, communally, of a racing car in LMP2 next year.

“Rather than one or two people choosing the drivers, it’ll be a whole community of people that have maybe dreamt about participating in motorsport their whole lives.

“And now in a super affordable way, because it’s a whole community of 10,000 people rather than just a few at a really high price.”

Habsburg envisions each blockchain-based membership costing between €500 and €1000 ($509 to $1018 USD). Multiple memberships can be acquired per member.

The reigning WEC LMP2 class champion stated that the first step is to reach a fifth of the 10,000 target members, which would secure the entry with WRT and enable the Rebel Team initiative to make all of its proposed major decisions.

Rebel Team members are set to be included in servers on the Discord virtual platform where key choices can be proposed, discussed and made, while other engagement opportunities are planned including community meetups.

“It’s the bridge between the virtual and the real world,” Habsburg said.

“You’re essentially doing the same thing in a virtual sense… you’ll be voting as a community on what you like and provide design ideas through Discord. And that will then become real-world.

“That bridge is what I had in my vision, and now it’s come to life thanks to a lot of people working on it.”

Driver selection will be based on a shortlist provided by team management that will be presented to the Rebel Team community for voting.

Considering Habsburg is currently FIA Gold-rated, the process will need to select a Silver or Bronze-ranked driver, which is a requirement in the WEC’s LMP2 class.

“That is one of the most revolutionary parts,” Habsburg said regarding the possibility of a community-led driver lineup decision.

“One of the ideas I was having was people getting frustrated by pay drivers in Formula 1.

“This should be the long-term goal of the project, for fans to fund career paths so that there’s no more one guy with one sponsor, but it’s a community of people having an impact on driver markets.

“Instead of us complaining about it, this is me trying to do something about that by giving strength to people.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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