Rebellion Racing will return to the LMP1 category in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the 2018/19 season.
The team has a long history in the LMP1 category but went for LMP2 during 2017 instead, since the only competition among the privateers was coming from ByKolles Racing Team, which the Rebellion team already had beaten comprehensively during the previous two seasons.
Team showed up in the LMP2 category and took the Championship with Bruno Senna and Julien Canal, after a season long fight with the Jackie Chan DC Racing team.
The team will do a major shake-up on their driver line-up, which is necessary if you want to compete in the LMP1 against the Toyota team amongst others.
Bruno Senna and Mathias Beche are the only two 2017 WEC drivers who will be retained for the 2018/19 season. They will be joined by the two Porsche LMP1 drivers, Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer. Two now former LMP2 drivers, Thomas Laurent and Gustavo Menezes take the last two seats.
Thomas Laurent has been driving for Jackie Chan DC Racing in the American Le Mans Series and latter the FIA WEC too, and has shown amazing speed. The same can be said about Gustavo Menezes, who has done two seasons for the Signatech Alpine Matmut team.
There are no details about combination of the drivers between the two cars.
Throughout the 2017 the team raced under the Vaillante Rebellion, but Vaillante isn’t mentioned in the press release at all, so it appears that the collaboration with the French cartoon magazine has come to its conclusion.
The team says goodbye to Nico Prost and Nelson Piquet Jr, who both participate in the FIA Formula E Championship. It’s not clear if Renault has demanded exclusivity regarding Prost, but Panasonic Jaguar Racing has surely done so with Piquet Jr, since Adam Carroll was told to focus one hundred percent on the electric series during the 2016/17 season and had to give up on his Gulf Racing UK FIA WEC seat.
David Heinemeier Hansson and Julien Canal aren’t part of the plans for next season either, but that is only natural following the team moving to LMP1, since both are silver ranked drivers. It is possible to race in the LMP1 category as a silver, but they wouldn’t be able to keep up with the gold and platinum rated drivers, whom they will be competing against.
The team haven’t announced what chassis they will run, but they have a long collaboration with ORECA, so it will most likely be one of their chassis’ – perhaps an updated version of their Rebellion R-One. The design of both cars will be revealed in March, before the season starts in April 2018.
With today’s announcement, we will have at least 9 LMP1 cars in the 2018/19 season, with 2 Toyota, 2 SMP Racing, 1 DragonSpeed, 1 Manor and at least 1 ByKolles.
Some people predicted that LMP1 (Racing24-7.net NOT included) would be a dead end, and it certainly isn’t the case. In fact it has grown even bigger and stronger, despite Audi and Porsche leaving within the last 12 months.