After a long summer break, FIA World Endurance Championship teams are now preparing for the resumption of racing next month, starting with the Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas.
Rebellion Racing enters the second half of the FIA WEC season looking to make further progress with its pair of new Rebellion R-One Toyotas, with team manager Bart Hayden providing an update on the team’s progress, as well as his feeling on the state of the LMP1-L class and its future.
Below is a Q&A with Hayden, provided by Rebellion Racing.
How will the recent changes in the FIA WEC EoT improve the pace of the Rebellion R-One?
“The changes announced by the Endurance Committee following the 24 Hour of Le Mans will allow Rebellion Racing to take a further 10kg of ballast out of the R-One cars and to have a higher fuel usage allowance.
“These changes are small compared to the pre-Le Mans adjustments where we were able to take 40kg out of the cars.
“We saw an improvement in lap time at Le Mans of about 2 seconds following the adjustments there, but around the short “sprint” circuits a weight reduction of only 10kg will not make much difference.”
Do you think these changes will make the pace of the LMP1-L closer to the LMP1-H cars?
Will the R-Ones will receive updates for the Austin round of the WEC or in the following races?
“Rebellion Racing are working with ORECA to bring some aerodynamic updates for the R-One cars to Austin. There won’t be any further major updates to the cars after that, just little tweaks and refinements to fine tune the performance.”
From Austin you will have to face competition in the LMP1-L category with the debut of the Lotus LMP1, are you confident?
“You never really know how your cars will compare to a competitor’s car until they are both on the same track together at the same time. We have now had many hours of running with the R-Ones, so we are getting to know well how they work and where we can improve.
“The Lotus will have had only limited running, so that could be a disadvantage for them. We are confident in our ability to extract the maximum from our cars and the competition will provide an extra incentive to achieve that.”
From the start of the season competition has so far been limited to an intra-team battle between the team’s two cars, how will the arrival of the Lotus LMP1 from Austin change your race team strategy?
“It won’t really change it at all because we are not measuring ourselves only against the LMP1-L competitor, we are trying to race with the factory cars.
“Our target is to get the Rebellion R-One cars as close to the front of the race as possible, we are racing in the premier category because we want to have a chance to win the race outright, we are not thinking strongly about only being the best in LMP1-L, but more about making the cars as competitive as possible to increase the chance of taking the overall win one day.”
How do you see the future of the LMP1-L category?
“It is good that Lotus is joining the LMP1-L category and we hope that more competitors will join as time goes on. The competition makes the races interesting and if the regulations can put the privateers into the same race at the front as the factory cars, that would be good for everyone.
“There has to be a place for the privateers with non-hybrid cars. The technology being used by the manufacturers to provide the hybrid power for their cars is quite exclusive and beyond the reach of a privateer team.
“We applaud the FIA / ACO for allowing the manufacturers the opportunity to develop those complex hybrid technologies, but the privateers must not be forgotten, we need assistance and if that support is forthcoming, the number of privateers that will compete in the races will increase.”