Race Weekend Central

REBELLION Racing Returns to LMP1 in 2018-2019 WEC Super Series

On Wednesday, REBELLION Racing announced that they will return to the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP1 class full-time with two cars beginning in 2018.  The team did not announce the chassis that will be used to race in the top flight, but they did announce the six drivers that will be with the organization.  Only two of the six drivers that drove for the team in the LMP2 class in 2017 will be back.

The only driver back with the team from the LMP2 championship-winning No. 31 will be Bruno Senna.  He’ll be joined by Mathias Beche, who drove the team’s No. 13 ORECA 07-Gibson.

There are two drivers that are already familiar with the operation that will be in the car as well.  Those drivers are former Porsche factory racer Neel Jani and Gustavo Menezes.

Jani has driven off and on with the team since 2009.  He has two overall victories in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (2012-2013) with REBELLION Racing in the American Le Mans Series.  This past season, Jani drove for the team at Daytona and Sebring in the team’s No. 13 ORECA 07-Gibson (pictured above).  Jani topped a number of the time sheets during those weekends and the Roar Before the 24.  Despite winning the overall pole at Sebring, both races ended with issues.

For Jani, he knew he wanted back in with REBELLION Racing after Porsche’s LMP program came to an end.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started 9 years ago,” Jani said in a press release.  “REBELLION Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for REBELLION. With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

Menezes has much less experience with the team.  An ambassador for REBELLION Timepieces, Menezes was drafted into the team for Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta back in October.  There, Menezes impressed, turning the car’s fastest lap of the race and putting himself in position to lead overall.  Unfortunately, teammate Nick Heidfeld crashed out of the race after colliding with Performance Tech Motorsports’ Kyle Masson.

Finally, REBELLION Racing has tapped two new drivers with successes under their belt to round out the team.  The first of those drivers is André Lotterer, who has raced for both Audi and Porsche in the LMP1 class.  Lotterer is a three-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Audi Sport Team Joest and won the FIA World Endurance Drivers Championship in 2012.  He comes to the team from Porsche LMP Team, where he finished fourth in the LMP1 class this past season in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

The driver roster is rounded out by 19-year old Thomas Laurent.  Laurent comes to REBELLION Racing from Jackie Chan DC Racing, where Laurent shared the team’s LMP2-class No. 38 ORECA 07-Gibson with Oliver Jarvis and Ho-Pin Tung.  Laurent had three class victories and six podium finishes on the way to second in LMP2 points.

REBELLION Racing is no stranger to the LMP1 class.  The team ran exclusively in the LMP1 class from 2010-2016 (first in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, then the WEC).  While the team never won a race overall, they did win all eight races in 2014 when the LMP1-L subclass for privateers was considered to be their own class.  The move to LMP2 for 2017 was done after they had essentially been racing up against themselves for the previous couple of seasons.

While REBELLION Racing did announce their six drivers for 2018, they did not announce the actual driver lineup for their cars.  That will come at a later date.  The cars themselves will be unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland in March.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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