Rebellion Racing and ORECA have set realistic expectations for the debut of the new Rebellion R-One in this weekend’s FIA WEC Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
The all-new LMP1-L car, designed and built by the French constructor, only turned its first laps just two weeks ago at Paul Ricard, with additional testing having been completed last week.
According to ORECA President Hugues de Chaunac, the team doesn’t expect a trouble-free outing, due to the limited running time thus far.
“Spa is not our first race. It’s a big testing session during a race weekend, but being present is indispensable,” de Chaunac said. “We started running the car about 10 days ago, with several tests but not enough needed to race against Audi, Porsche and Toyota.
“For us at ORECA and Rebellion, it’s a chance to break in the car and where the result is not the objective. It’s a step on the path to preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, ahead of a big testing session in May.
“Hats off to Rebellion Racing’s courage for making this decision [to debut this weekend] and I’m convinced it’s the right one. It’s certain we will have things to tend to during the weekend, and we will probably have issues during the race.
“But… you learn that much faster during a race meeting. We know why we are going to Spa: to prepare for Le Mans without taking any risks, that’s forbidden.”
Contrary to previous reports, the Anglo-Swiss squad will field both of its new Toyota-powered prototypes this weekend, with Rebellion’s two Lola B12/60 Toyotas now likely facing permanent retirement.
With the Lotus T129 AER, the only other LMP1-L car entered in this year’s championship, a no-show for the second consecutive race, Rebellion will not face any direct competition in the prototype sub-class.
Nick Heidfeld, Nicolas Prost and Mathias Beche, class winners at Silverstone, will pilot the No. 12 entry alongside the No. 13 car with drivers Andrea Belicchi, Dominik Kraihamer and Fabio Leimer.
“Observers who have seen the car, as well as technical bosses at the FIA and experts, some of which would surprise you, have all saluted the high quality build of the car and attention to detail from our teams,” he said.
“Personally, I think the design bureau engineers created a very beautiful car. I’m proud of it. Now, this has to show through performance and reliability, like we did with the ORECA 01, then the ORECA 03.”
While testing photos have been released, the formal unveiling of the car in its full race livery is expected to come tomorrow.