WEC - Long Term Commitment from Rebellion Racing  | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WEC - Long Term Commitment from Rebellion Racing 

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Rebellion Racing has been part of the FIA World Endurance Championship since the first race in Florida in March 2012.  The Swiss team have competed in LMP1 in every season except for 2017, when they competed in LMP2, winning the team and driver titles before moving back to LMP1 for the 2018/19 Super Season.

In fact, Rebellion Racing has been successful in every single season they have competed in the World Endurance Championship.  In 2012 the team won the FIA Endurance Trophy for Private LMP1 teams, finishing ahead of four other competitors in the inaugural season of the WEC.  In 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Rebellion Racing retained their LMP1 crown, and were able to take the fight to the manufacturer teams by scoring overall podium finishes, including two at Silverstone and Spa at the start of the 2016 season.

After winning the LMP2 crown in 2017 with Bruno Senna and Julien Canal, Rebellion switched back to the LMP1 category with the Gibson powered Rebellion R13, with Gustavo Menezes, Thomas Laurent and Mathias Beche taking an overall win at Silverstone when the two Toyota TS050s were excluded.  A further second placed finish followed in Spa.

We caught up with Team Manager Bart Hayden to discuss Rebellion Racings commitment to the WEC and his thoughts on the many achievements in the sixty WEC races since that first round at Sebring in March 2012. 

Q: Rebellion Racing have competed in every season of the FIA World Endurance Championship since 2012.  What is the main reason for Rebellion Racing competing in the LMP1 category?

Bart Hayden: The World Endurance Championship is the top level of sportscar racing and within the WEC, LMP1 is the top category.  Since the beginning, Rebellion Racing have wanted to compete at the highest level and to have the best possible chance of taking an overall win at Le Mans, so with the possible exception of the 2017 race, being in LMP1 has given the best opportunity to achieve that ultimate goal.


Q: How difficult is it for a private team to compete with a manufacturer in LMP1? 

BH: For a manufacturer in LMP1, they have the might of their organisation and knowledge base behind them and their budget and available resources are significantly higher than those of a privateer team.  That makes it difficult for a privateer to directly compete, but with regulations and persistence on the part of the privateer, they can achieve their own goals and Rebellion Racing’s list of results and achievements over the course of the WEC’s history speaks for itself.


Q: What has been your favourite season and why?

BH: It’s difficult to choose one season over another, they each have special moments and they each have lows.  If pressed, I would find it hard to select only one season, I would instead say that I enjoyed 2012 because with the Lola Toyota, as well as winning the Championship, we finished fourth overall at Le Mans against the 6 factory cars of Audi and Toyota and then at the end of the year we went to Atlanta and won Petit Le Mans too.  And I’d choose 2017 because it was fiercely competitive and we won the LMP2 Championship at the last race of the season.


Q: Rebellion Racing has been home to some of the new generation of endurance driver talent, such as Thomas Laurent.  Has this been part of the team strategy to bring in these new drivers to race alongside the established drivers such as Mathias Beche and Bruno Senna?

BH: Rebellion Racing have long been strong supporters of young drivers, especially Swiss drivers, remember that Neel Jani was in the team from 2010, Marcel FASSLER also drove that year and then Mathias BECHE became a long time driver.  Fabio LEIMER, Harold PRIMAT, Alexandre IMPERATORI and Matheo TUSCHER have also driven for Rebellion and we are happy to have been able to provide a platform for them to showcase their abilities.


Q: In 2017 Rebellion moved to LMP2 and won the championship title with Bruno Senna and Julien Canal.  What was the reason for the move from LMP1 to LMP2? 

BH: 2017 was the first year for the new LMP2 cars and it was the last year of the old LMP1 cars, so it was a crossover year.  During 2016, when we learned about the expected performance of the new LMP2 cars, we realised that they would be as quick and possibly quicker than the old R-One LMP1, so we elected to move to the LMP2 cars rather than to invest in the older R-One and by taking the LMP2 cars it also allowed us to enter three endurance races in the USA (Daytona, Sebring and Petit).


Q: What was the highlight of the 2017 season?

BH: There were two highlights of the 2017 season, the first was winning the race in Mexico, it was the first win of the season and it got the monkey off our backs, we subsequently went on to win the races at Fuji, Shanghai and Bahrain.  The second highlight was winning the Championship at the final race of the season in Bahrain.  At the start of the season everyone was saying that we had been cruising in LMP1 and that we weren’t a truly competitive force, so it was nice to win the Championship with 4 wins out of the 9 races and to prove the critics wrong!


Q: Why did the team choose to move back to LMP1 and not defend the LMP2 title in 2018/19?

BH: As mentioned earlier, we want to be racing at the highest level and with the best chance of winning Le Mans, so with the new LMP1 Regulations for 2018 we expected to really be able to fight for overall wins and the Championship.  As it turned out, the factory cars were still dominant during the “Super Season”, but the target of winning Le Mans outright is still there and we think that being in LMP1 gives the best chance of that.

Q: How is the 2019/20 season going for the team?

BH: So far this season, there have been two races and we have finished on the third step of the podium in both of those races, so it’s not too bad.  Shanghai has been good to us in the past and our car works well here, so with the new EOT and success handicaps for this race, we are hoping to be on the top step of the podium after this race.


Q: This is the last season of the current LMP1 cars, though the cars could still race in the WEC next season.  Is Rebellion Racing looking at the new Hypercar category or something else? 

BH: Rebellion Racing is looking at Hypercar, but precisely what the future holds, we will have to wait and see!


The 4 Hours of Shanghai is Round 3 of the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship and will take place on Sunday 10 November.