Tuesday 20 December 2016

Rebellion Racing announces 2 car FIA WEC effort

Today Rebellion Racing confirmed a 2 car effort in the 2017 World Endurance Championship. As announced before, the team makes the switch from the LMP1-L class to LMP2 with 2 new Gibson engined Oreca07's. 

Four drivers have also been announced today. Nicolas Prost and Matthias Beche are up for their ninth and fifth season with the Swiss team. Nelson Piquet Jr, who drove the first three races of the 2016 season with Rebellion, including Le Mans, also makes his return for his first full season in the FIA World Endurance Championship. 

A new name in the 2017 line-up will be Bruno Senna, leaving RGR Sport for a full season campaign with Rebellion. Senna had a successful campaign last season, scoring 2 class wins in Silverstone and Mexico and four class podiums.

The driver line-up will be completed with 2 silver drivers later on. Pierre Thiriet is one of the most named possible drivers to join in for next season.

The new Oreca07 has been tested for the first time at the Dunlop tyre tests at Sebring last week.

© Dunlop

The Swiss team will also compete in the 2017 Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, the 4 longest races in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans) with a one car effort. Rebellion has already been successful in the States, winning Petit Le Mans in 2012 and 2013 and finishing on the podium in Sebring. 

For the Daytona 24 hours in January, Rebellion already has a stellar driver line-up with Neel Jani, Sebastian Buemi, Nick Heidfeld and Stéphane Sarrazin.  


Nicolas Prost: "I am of course very glad to continue for a ninth year with REBELLION Racing. I know the team very well, I am very happy here and I am always involved in the development of the team. We have grown together over the years and it was clear to me that the right thing to do was to stay with REBELLION Racing in their challenge with the new LMP2 cars. The competition in LMP2 is going to be very hard, but we will give everything to fight for all the races. I am looking forward to driving the Oreca 07 LMP2 which I have heard a lot of good things about."

Mathias Beche: "This will be my fifth season with REBELLION Racing and we know each other well. I am extremely happy and grateful to be able to be part of this new challenge, moreover under the colours of Switzerland ! The new car is fantastic to drive and the fight on the track is going to be fierce, that's what makes us all excited ! I believe that my experience with the LMP1, coupled with the experience I gained in LMP2 will be a great asset to help the team meet this beautiful challenge."

Nelson piquet Jr: "I am really happy to return with the team, this time for a full season. It’s going to be a big challenge for us in our first year with the new LMP2. I am looking forward to work with people I know from last year and to make a good championship together with the team and my teammates. I can’t wait for the season to start !"

Bruno Senna: "I'm so excited to be part of REBELLION Racing's line-up for FIA WEC in 2017! The team really has strived to get the most competitive line-up possible to challenge for the championship as well as winning Le Mans in LMP2. Our job will be very tough with so many strong drivers and teams out there, but I'm very much looking forward to kicking things-off in Monza during the Prologue !"

Bart Hayden, REBELLION Racing Team Manager : "We are very pleased to confirm our plans to enter two Oreca 07 LMP2 cars in the 2017 World Endurance Championship alongside our already announced entry with a single car in the IMSA North American Endurance Cup races. We are also very happy that Nico, Mathias and Nelson will be driving with us again in 2017 and I would like to welcome Bruno to the REBELLION Racing Team. We were impressed with the Oreca 07 when we tested it in Sebring last week, it should be a good car to go for race victories and the Championship. We are putting together all the ingredients to run a strong campaign in 2017!"

Sunday 11 December 2016

Riley Mk30 LMP2 breaks cover

With the delivery of Visit Florida Racing's Riley Mk30/Gibson this afternoon at Carolina Motorsports Park, the fourth and final new LMP2 chassis broke cover. 

© Visit Florida Racing

The pictures released by the American team are the first of the new Riley LMP2 chassis. Marc Goossens and Renger van der Zande, both full time drivers for the team in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship took their first laps in the car today. Further testing will continue at the official IMSA test at Daytona International Speedway next week. 

© Visit Florida Racing

All four cars now broke cover and are undergoing intensive testing ahead of the 2017 season. 

The Ligier JSP217 was the first car to be unveiled at the ELMS weekend at Spa. Since then, the Onroak Automotive prototype has covered more than 6000 testing kilometers so far, both in Europe and in the USA with the first tests as a converted DPi prototype scheduled in the upcoming weeks. 

© Onroak Automotive

The Oreca 07 was presented by the end of October at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. Oreca is also the only manufacturer who offers an "upgrade kit" for their current Oreca 05 to the 07 specification. 

© Alexis Goure/Oreca

The car has been tested thoroughly in the past months, ahead of racing in the FIA WEC, ELMS and IMSA.

© Alexis Goure/Oreca

Meanwhile some spy shots were published of the brand new Dallara testing in Italy. Up untill now, the Dallara LMP2 hasn't been officially presented, with not much details already known about the car. 

© Racing Team Nederland

Villorba Corse have published some renderings of the Dallara that will be entered in the ELMS next season. Dutch team "Racing Team Nederland" who also acquired the Gibson engined Italian chassis though have published several pictures since they started testing the car in november. As from next week they will test the Dallara at Sebring. An entry in the ELMS is on the cards for 2017 and an application for the Le Mans 24 Hours. 

© Racing Team Nederland

Kristof Vermeulen.

Tuesday 6 December 2016

FIA WEC: Larbre Competition ready to move up to GTE-Pro

French team Larbre Competition continues to focus on an improved effort in the FIA World Endurance Championship next season. It's no secret that Jack Leconte and his team were already pursuing a move up to the GTE Pro class ahead of this season, but ultimately things didn't work out, resulting in a new entry in the GTE-Am class. 

In 2016, the Corvette C7-R finished in the points in 8 out of 9 races and scored four podium finishes at Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, Nürburgring and COTA. The increased collaboration and factory support of  Pratt & Miller and the addition of Ricky Taylor to the driver line-up in the second half of the season has certainly upped the team's performance. 

Leconte and his team now wait for a decision to be taken by the General Motors management whether they will be able to enter a Corvette C7-R in the GTE-Pro class next year. After a successful partnership of 6 years with Corvette Racing, expectations are high again to make the move with factory support.  Adding the Corvette to the Pro class would bring a fifth manufacturer in the mix, joining Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche, with BMW set to join in 2018.

FIA WEC: Date change for 2017 prologue

A date change for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship prologue has just been announced. The prologue, the official pre-season test for all entrants in the championship has been rescheduled to Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd of April 2017 at Monza.

The visit of Pope Francis to the Italian town of Monza on March 24th and 25th made it impossible to retain the original date for the WEC prologue due to security and organisational reasons.  The European Le Mans Series prologue keeps its initial date on March 28th and 29th. Both prologues now follow up to each other. 

The 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship calendar: 

1-2 April: WEC Prologue, Monza, ITA
16 April: 6 Hours of Silverstone, GBR
06 May: WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, BEL
04 June: Le Mans testday, FRA
17/18 June: Le Mans 24 Hours, FRA
16 July: 6 Hours of Nürburgring, DEU
03 September: 6 Hours of Mexico, MEX
16 September: 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas, USA              
15 October: 6 Hours of Fuji, JAP
05 November: 6 Hours of Shanghai, CHN
18 November: 6 Hours of Bahrain, BAH

The 2017 European Le Mans Series calendar: 

28-29 March: ELMS Prologue, Monza, ITA
15 April: 4 Hours of Silverstone, GBR
14 May: 4 Hours of Monza, ITA
23 July: 4 Hours of the Red Bull Ring, AUT
27 August: 4 Hours of Le Castellet, FRA
24 September: 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, BEL
22 October: 4 Hours of Portimao, POR

Kristof Vermeulen.

Saturday 3 December 2016

Porsche reshuffles driver line-ups for 2017

Porsche announced its 2017 driver line-ups for the 2017 World Endurance Championship and the IMSA Weatertech Sportscar Series tonight at the "Porsche night of champions" in Weissach, Germany. 

© Porsche

The celebrations for the German manufacturer started yesterday when Porsches winners of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship have been celebrated at the 2016 FIA prize giving ceremony in Vienna. For the second year in a row Porsche is World Champion of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Following the triumph of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley, and Timo Bernhard last year, this year’s crown went to the crew of Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb.

LMP1 defending champions

Porsche returns to the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship as defending champions, and will be out on the hunt for a third consecutive crown. Both Porsche 919 Hybrids will race again with the starting numbers 1 and 2. The driver line-ups of both cars will see some major changes next year. After Mark Webbers retirement and the departure of Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb from the LMP1 driving squad, three newcomers will join the crew. 

Returnees to the LMP1 program are New Zealander Earl Bamber and Britain Nick Tandy. Both have already gained a lot of experience in the 919 Hybrid LMP1, winning the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside Nico Hülkenberg. The third new name in Porsches driver line-up is André Lotterer. The  35 year old German, three time Le Mans winner and 2012 WEC champion, makes the move from Audi to Porsche.  Lotterer and Tandy will join Neel Jani in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid. The #2 car will have two "Kiwi's" at the wheel next season with Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber, who will be joined by German Timo Bernhard. 

Next year's 919 represents another step in its technological evolution, featuring a completely new colour design, an optimised aerokit, and the complete overhaul of almost all components. The  car will be officially unveiled on 23 March at the WEC prologue, which is held for the first time in Monza, Italy.


2017 will also see the return of a Porsche factory effort in the GTE Pro class in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The return of Porsche in the GTE class with the whole new 911 RSR will see the German manufacturer on the hunt for the GT world championship titles for best driver(s) and manufacturer.  Confirmed drivers for the World Endurance Championship so far are Michael Christensen, Frédéric Makowiecki and Richard Lietz. At least one more driver has to be confirmed and 2 more for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

© Porsche
With Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy moving up to LMP1, new drivers have also been signed on to race in GTE. German Dirk Werner returns to Porsche after several years as BMW works driver. Another driver coming over from Audi is the highly talented GT ace Laurens Vanthoor. The 25 year old Belgian already has an impressive resume in GT racing, clinching the 2013 FIA GT title and victories in long distance racing at the 24 hours of Spa, Nürburgring and Dubai. Sven Müller will also be promoted to Porsche works driver after winning the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. 

Porsche will also take on the competition with 2 factory cars in the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship. As in the FIA WEC, 2 brand new 911 RSR's will be on the grid of the North American championship. Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner will drive the 911 car where as Laurens Vanthoor will join Frenchman Kevin Estre in the #912. Fred Makowiecki and Richard Lietz will join in for the long distance races. 

Kristof Vermeulen.