Rebellion has sent shockwaves in the motorsport world today, by issuing a press release at midday.
The Swiss watch company, who is active in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Rebellion Racing, running two LMP1 cars, has chosen to end all their involvements within motorsport, once the chequered flag falls at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 2020.
Today’s announcement came out of nowhere, especially since it’s just two months ago, that a partnership with Peugeot Sport and their new Hypercar programme were announced.
Peugeot Sport was very rapid to send out their own press release, stating that everything will continue as planned, with Total being a big partner of them, just like when they last were active in the top category in sportscars.
Rebellion has been a sponsor in the European Le Mans Series, including several teams in the series, but that will end as well.
The brand has been active within sportscar racing for the last 13 years. The former Speedy Sebah team was slowly turned into Rebellion Racing, where they quickly got hold of some Lola LMP1 cars, which was their basis for the first handful of seasons. They did both European races, but also some American Le Mans Series races.
2014 saw them bringing the first car with their own name on it. The car was built by ORECA, but had a really tough time against the works teams from Porsche, Toyota and Audi, and was unable to compete with them, despite the technical regulations theoretically should have been open to it. They did, however, end up battling with ByKolles for the honours of being the best privateers for years.
Things were turned around in 2017, where they did a single season in the LMP2 category, which they dominated and clinched the title in. They were on the overall Le Mans podium until the scrutineers found a hole in the bodywork, which the mechanics had used to thump a sick starter motor throughout the race. That saw the #13 car disqualified, basically sending them out of the championship hunt, which instead turned out in favour of the sister #31 car.
They returned to LMP1 in 2018, with a brand new car, once again from ORECA, which they are running for the second season at the moment.
There has been no news from the Speedy Sebah part of the team, regarding their potential interest of continuing to run under their own name, or with another title sponsor. That part of the team has British roots but has gotten more and more help from ORECA during the latter years, to run the LMP1 cars.
So for now, we can only enjoy the final four races for Rebellion Racing, and hope that the R13 cars will be on the starting grid for the 2020/21 season too, in one shape or another.
The next FIA WEC race is in one and a half weeks time at COTA in Texas, before going to Sebring in Florida, Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, and the season finale in Le Mans.