Only a single Rebellion R13 Gibson is so far confirmed for the full 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship season, with the prospects of maintaining a second season-long entry currently being “50-50” according to Rebellion CEO Calim Bouhadra.
The Swiss squad, which has secured two full-season LMP1 entries for the first regular-length two-calendar season, could focus the second car on the 24 Hours of Le Mans only should sufficient funding not materialize.
When asked about their chances of returning as a two car-operation, Bouhadra told Sportscar365: “It’s too early for us to speak, but I would say it’s 50-50.
“So no, it’s not sure that we have two cars, but also it’s really depending on lots of factors.
“This is not only the question of the EoT, but also and more the budget because we have to think ahead now with the new regulations and thinking about what we want to do in two years.
“[We’ll have] definitely one car, and if we can have the budget that expected, we’ll validate the second car.”
Bouhadra explained that it’s “very tough” for the team to decide on its plans following the WEC ‘Super Season’ that saw the LMP1 non-hybrids unable to contend with the Toyota TS050 Hybrids in race pace.
Changes, including the addition of success ballast, are on the horizon for next season, although details on the FIA and ACO’s revised EoT process remain unclear at this stage.
“We [have been] for 12 years in endurance [racing],” Bouhadra said. “We did the job with endurance and bringing the privateers to the level that they are.
“But we need help also, from the regulations, to have more competition. In the past, it took us lots of energy and budget to try to keep the team in the high level.”
Adding to the uncertainty is the departure of at least half of its 2018-19 driver lineup, with newly named Toyota LMP1 reserve driver Thomas Laurent leaving for Signatech Alpine, Neel Jani set to focus exclusively on the ABB FIA Formula E Championship with Porsche and Andre Lotterer potentially to follow.
Bouhadra said to expect some “new talents” to the team, as they did last season with Laurent and Gustavo Menezes.
A decision on its lineup could come as early as this week.
Bouhadra: Hypercar Was Not Rebellion’s First Choice
Rebellion had been in favor of the FIA and ACO adopting IMSA’s DPi formula in place of Hypercar, according to Bouhadra, who has expressed concerns over costs in the recently confirmed formula.
“We prefer the DPi system because it’s more realistic, for budget for us,” he said. “Now, we’re going to figure out with the [Hypercar] regulations, it’s really difficult but we’re going to try to make it.
“Our goal is to now find a manufacturer and make a partnership with a manufacturer and try to get the good association.
“It’s absolutely just a question of budget with the supercar.
“We don’t do any [road] cars, it’s not our business. If we want to make it relevant, because they’re starting to say the budget for supercar is around €30-40 million, so it’s a lot.
“This is obviously something that we cannot have.”
Bouhadra said the team would be open to customer cars, such as Aston Martin’s Vaxylkrie, which is se to be made available to privateer teams by as early as the 2021-22 season.
Rebellion’s current chassis partner ORECA, meanwhile, is understood to be pursuing a Hypercar program of its own with an OEM.
“We have [had] some discussions with some manufacturers and, in the same way as this, to find this [hypercar] that we can join this brand and try to continue the story of Rebellion with them,” Bouhadra added.
Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report.