While having confirmed a switch to LMP2, Rebellion Racing is in the process of finalizing where and what it will race next year, with options in the FIA World Endurance Championship, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and European Le Mans Series all being evaluated.
The Anglo-Swiss squad announced last week it would put its LMP1 program on hold and enter LMP2 ranks with a to-be-determined chassis and program.
“I think we have a reasonable idea of what we’re going to go [with] but we’re not in a position to make any announcement at the moment,” team manager Bart Hayden told Sportscar365.
Hayden has expressed interest in mounting a North American program, with the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races at a minimum, around a potential European or WEC effort, but admitted it could depend on car availability.
He said they expect to finalize plans over the next few weeks, with an announcement likely prior to next month’s WEC round in Shanghai.
“We have to know what we’re doing in that kind of time scale because if we want to be ready for the early part of the year, then time’s already ticking away,” Hayden said.
“The first race in 2017 is Daytona and that’s not long from now. If we’re going to be ready for that one, that’s a lot of work.
“It’s certainly something we’re looking at but we haven’t decided that’s what we’re going to do.”
Hayden said they will be building their 2017 program around the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where the team will be seeking two entries.
“For Rebellion Racing, Le Mans is by far the number one event,” he said. “Pending the entries, we’d love to be there with two cars.
“That’s what we’re centering on. The elements around that, we’re still looking at.
“The cars are eligible in three championships. Obviously there’s an investment to be made in buying the cars and a budget element required for that.
“Once you’ve made that, where you race to get the exposure and competition you want…
“America is obviously attractive because you can race for the overall win. You can race for the overall win in ELMS. WEC, you might argue, has a higher profile than ELMS.
“Each championship has merits and that’s why they’re all under consideration.”
The decision to put its LMP1 program on hold, Hayden said, came following last month’s WEC round at Circuit of The Americas, a race that team owner Alex Pesci saw first-hand the level of competition the cost-capped class provide.
“Up until Austin we were looking at being in LMP1 next year,” Hayden said. “It was only on the flight home from Austin, I happened to be on the same flight to Heathrow with Alex Pesci. We had time to chat.
“He had seen the racing in Austin and how close the LMP2 cars were. Given what people are saying how quick they’re going to be next year, he was asking if they’re going to be quicker than the R-Ones next year.
“I said, I guess on the sprint tracks they could be but not necessarily at Le Mans.
“With only Kolles saying they’re going to be in LMP1-L, there wasn’t going to be any other teams [for next year]. All of us really relish the prospect of having more teams and cars to race against.
“The beginning of something that’s got four years of stability… It makes a lot of sense commercially.”
Hayden stressed they have not ruled out a return to LMP1 in the future, should there be more competition.
“I think we’d look to be back if more competitors were there and the rules were such that you could take a scalpel or two from the factory cars if they have problems,” he said.
“It’s just hard at the minute to justify LMP1 without the competition with the additional costs of being there. I think the budget in P2 will be lower even having to buy the new cars.
“When you look at it in those terms, it makes a lot of sense, really.”