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Rebellion Opts for High-Downforce Aero at Spa

Rebellion to stick with high-downforce kit at Spa after scrapping original plans to run Le Mans aero…

Photo: John Rourke/WEC

Rebellion Racing is sticking with its high-downforce aerodynamic configuration for the Total 6 Hours of Spa despite originally planning to field its Le Mans-style LMP1 body kit.

The Swiss-flagged team is running a single Rebellion R13 Gibson for Gustavo Menezes, Bruno Senna and Norman Nato, who won the previous race at Circuit of The Americas.

Rebellion used its low-downforce trim during a test at Paul Ricard last month, while it was also expected to bring that configuration to Spa as part of its Le Mans preparations.

But Menezes told Sportscar365 that the team is sticking with the high-downforce setup it has campaigned at every round of the 2019-20 WEC season so far.

“We’re on our sprint trim,” said the American. “We are here to fight for a victory and to make valuable points in the world championship, so we can’t risk running the wrong body kit for this event.

“We’ll be on the sprint body kit, which we think is more efficient on our car for this race weekend.

“Last year [at Spa] we started on the low-downforce and we had to swap because it was not suitable on this track.

“Also, back then it was a new development, so we didn’t really know what the result of it would be last year. This year, after the Paul Ricard test, we know what we need for Le Mans.

“But now we’re here to focus on Spa. This isn’t just a Le Mans build-up, it’s a round of the world championship.”

Menezes reckons the Total 6 Hours of Spa will be an “interesting race” between Toyota and Rebellion as the two teams continue their battle for the drivers’ and teams’ titles.

Rebellion has a larger success handicap following its dominant victory in the 6 Hours of COTA, but Menezes reckons the R13 Gibson can still challenge at the front.

The Rebellion had a 2.22s per lap advantage over the most penalized Toyota at COTA, while the performance penalty difference has gone down to 1.94s per lap for Spa.

Toyota is running its low-downforce aero on both of its TS050 Hybrid cars at Spa.

The two LMP1 regulars are joined this weekend by ByKolles Racing, which is making its first appearance of the season ahead of Le Mans next month.

“It should slow us down, but it puts into a similar balance to Bahrain where, looking at the race average pace, if we had no issues after our incident it would have been around 15 seconds between the two cars,” said Menezes.

“But this track is a bit different. It potentially suits Toyota a bit more but we’ll see. We don’t know what the weather’s going to be and how it affects tire degradation.

“It’s all in the air: the air is going to change so much in the next three days, so we don’t really know.

“I think it’s going to be a very interesting race. It’s not going to be a massive margin from one [LMP1 car] to the other.”

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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