Rebellion Racing will scale back to a single Rebellion R-One AER for the remainder of the FIA World Endurance Championship season, as part of a cost-savings exercise, the team announced Friday.
The Anglo-Swiss squad has withdrawn its LMP1 Privateer championship-leading No. 12 entry of Nicolas Prost, Mathias Beche and Nick Heidfeld, leaving the No. 13 car of Alexandre Imperatori, Dominik Kraihamer and Matheo Tuscher to complete the final five races of the season as a solo entry.
As previously revealed by Sportscar365, Rebellion’s immediate future in the WEC had been unclear, amid rumors of the team pulling the plug on its entire effort following last month’s Six Hours of Nürburgring.
The team has now laid out plans to continue in LMP1 next year, but to dedicate its resources to the necessary upgrades needed for its ORECA-built cars.
“The level of competition in LMP1 is being taken to ever greater heights by the manufacturer entrants, so to improve our own competitiveness in the category, we feel the need to invest more time and resources into updating the Rebellion R-One cars ready for the 2017 season,” team manager Bart Hayden said.
“As a small private team with limited resources, we have decided to focus on racing one car rather than two in the remaining FIA WEC events and this will allow us to put more effort into updating the cars for 2017.”
The Rebellion R-One AERs, which debuted in 2014, will need to be updated to the WEC’s revised LMP1-L regulations for next year, which sees aero, weight and other mechanical changes.
DRS, meanwhile, is expected to be rolled out to the subclass in 2018.
“We need to take those changes and make them into reality to put us in a more competitive position going forward,” Hayden said.
“Splitting our focus between running one car in the remaining races and on updating the cars for next year will mean that we can continue to be a part of the WEC whilst at the same time making sure that we are as competitive as possible next year.”
The decision to park the No. 12 car and not the No. 13 entry, Hayden said, is to provide a more competitive championship battle with the No. 4 ByKolles Racing CLM P1/01 AER, which currently trails Imperatori, Kraihamer and Tusher by 45 points.
“It makes the fight for the championship a bigger challenge,” Hayden said.
The withdrawal of the No. 12 Rebellion entry leaves only two LMP1 Privateer entries for next month’s inaugural Six Hours of Mexico, and presumably the remainder of the season as well.