Rebellion ready to take on ALMS
Special to Highlands TodaySpecial to Highlands Today
Published: December 7, 2012
Published: December 7, 2012
Was an overall victory at Road Atlanta the first of many to come for Rebellion Racing in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón? We may soon find out.
The Swiss squad will compete as a full-time entry in the 2013 ALMS championship with one of its Toyota-powered Lola coupes. Sports car racing in North America is getting a proven winner as evidenced by a three-lap victory in the ALMS's 2012 finale at Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda. Andrea Belicchi, Nico Prost and Neel Jani drove the car at Road Atlanta. Jani earned pole position for the race and also set the fastest lap in the 1,000-mile enduro.
"This is great news and we welcome everyone at Rebellion Racing back to the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón with open arms," said Scott Atherton, ALMS President and CEO. "The team's presence as a full-season entry will provide ALMS fans with not just another world-class competitor but a fascinating championship fight in our premier P1 class. This news - with more to follow – only adds to the anticipation for a great 2013 season."
For the 2013 season, the Swiss team will continue to campaign their Lola B12/60 Toyota powered cars and they will kick off the year in the United States of America at the 61st edition of the 12 Hours of Sebring, hoping to pick up from where they left off having won outright the last race of the 2012 ALMS season, the 15th edition of Petit le Mans in Atlanta.
Rebellion will also run a second LMP1 Lola-Toyota at the 12 Hours of Sebring. The drivers who will participate in the 2013 ALMS races and the 12 Hours of Sebring will be announced at a later date.
"2012 was the most demanding, but also the most successful season in the history of the Rebellion Racing team," said team manager Bart Hayden. "We won the FIA WEC Endurance Trophy for Private LMP1 Teams with six victories from eight races, including Le Mans, where we finished fourth overall and prevented a clean-sweep by the Manufacturer cars; added to that, in our only race in the ALMS we took the overall victory to win Petit le Mans."
As a result, the fight for next season's ALMS P1 championship is much tougher. Defending champion Muscle Milk Pickett Racing expects to return in 2013 as does 2011 champion Dyson Racing. Last season saw the two teams race to the end at Road Atlanta before Muscle Milk clinched its first ALMS title.
"We want to build upon those results in 2013 and aim to add to our tally of overall race wins," Hayden said. "The visibility generated by overall wins is more in line with what our partners require and desire. The WEC is a World Championship and we would like to find a way to continue racing there too. Over the coming weeks, we will be striving to put together a program to complement our presence in the ALMS.
"We are a team that has grown up with the Le Mans spirit since our involvement in the GT class in the early 2000s and we want to continue racing in championships that mix the very best professional prototype and GT teams. I will be particularly pleased if we can succeed in finding a way to run cars in both the ALMS and the FIA WEC in 2013."
Rebellion, which won the 2011 Le Mans Series LMP1 Team championship, will enter the 2013 season on a high note. Not only did the team capture Petit Le Mans, Rebellion captured the 6 Hours of Shanghai in its final WEC event of 2012.
Rebellion nearly pulled off a 1-2 sweep at Shanghai, but fell victim to some bad racing luck. The No. 13 Rebellion moved into second place behind the No. 12 Rebellion in its class in the final 30 minutes, with the No. 12 car maintaining a one-lap lead, but a transmission problem forced the No. 12 car to retire eight minutes before the end of the race. It was the first time one of Rebellion's Lola B12/60 Toyotas has had to retire all season.
"The team has worked hard for the last years to achieve good results and it has paid off especially this season," Harold Primat, driver of the No. 13 car said afterwards. "Of course, we share the disappointment of our teammates in the No. 12 car, but things like that happen sometimes. Anyway, we will celebrate together our victory of today and the success of the season."