Anglo-Swiss FIA WEC team Rebellion Racing is set to compete in LMP1 once again in the 2018/19 ‘Super Season’ after competing in LMP2 this season, winning the class title.
RACER understands the newly crowned LMP2 champion will be an ORECA LMP1 effort, though the team has not yet announced which chassis or engine supplier it will use. For the team’s LMP1 effort, RACER understands ORECA is set to play a leading role on the engineering side of the effort and it is also understood that the new ORECA LMP1 car will be exclusively supplied to Rebellion for the 2018/19 season.
The team’s return to LMP1 – it won the class Privateer Trophy in the FIA WEC each year from 2012-16 racing with Lola and R-One chassis – brings the total number of confirmed full-season LMP1 entries for 2018/19 to nine.
Both its cars will be revealed at the Geneva International Motor Show in March.
The team’s driver line-up will race with a mixture of team mainstays and experienced team debutants. The team’s 2017 LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return, with Rebellion regular Mathias Beche and Petit Le Mans star Gustavo Menezes. The trio will be joined by ex-Porsche LMP1 drivers Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer and Jackie Chan DC Racing 2017 LMP2 Le Mans winner Thomas Laurent.
“I am very happy to be in LMP1 with Rebellion Racing for the 2018-2019 FIA WEC super season,” Senna said. “The many changes in the rules will be a huge challenge, but we have drivers and a quality team to deal with them. We will push very hard for those crucial Le Mans wins!”
American Menezes, who will make his LMP1 debut with the team, addded: “I would like to thank Rebellion Racing and especially Calim Bouhadra and Alexandre Pesci for their trust. I was an ambassador of Rebellion Timepieces this past year and now I’ve become an official driver of the team. I had a great time with Team Signature and now another adventure begins. I am 23 years old and now moving to the top category. It’s a great opportunity and it’s going to be incredible.”
The move marks a return to the team for Jani, the 2016 FIA WEC drivers champion who joined Rebellion in 2010 and remained until joining Porsche in 2014.
“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” Jani said. “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.”
Lotterer, who will also race with TECHEETAH in Formula E, is among the drivers contracted with Porsche despite the end of the LMP1 program. But he previously said the German marque has been “relaxed” in allowing him to pursure opportunities that would secure an opportunity at Le Mans.
”I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” he said. “The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss. I am motivated and looking forward to having a great time with great people there.”