Rebellion Racing’s third place at Silverstone
was the first podium for a privateer in the
World Endurance Championship since 2012.
Incredibly, it then did it again at Spa. The
question is whether the Anglo-Swiss team
could repeat the feat at the 24 Hours of
Le Mans and become the first private
entrant to make the top three since 2007?
The days of the Pescarolo team battling
out with factory or factory-supported Audis
in the mid-2000s are long gone. More
manufacturers made the likelihood of a
privateer making the podium more remote.
The advent of a new rulebook that placed
new emphasis on hybrid technology and fuel
efficiency increased the gap between the
factories and the independents yet further.
An accident, a technical problem and a
devastating puncture for three of the six
factory cars explained why the Rebellion-AER
R-One of Alex Imperatori, Dominik
Kraihamer and Matteo Tuscher crossed the
line in fourth place at Silverstone in April.
The exclusion of the Audi that won on the
road why it was promoted to the podium.
You might think that such a scenario is
THE LONG-SHOT SCENARIO
in a longer race. And Audi would almost have
certainly brought in the R18 e-tron quattro
that retired in the third hour to address the
on-going hybrid problems that eventually
stranded it out on the track.
The ability of delayed factory cars to
overhaul the privateers, such is the
performance differential, is something the rule
makers, Le Mans organiser the Automobile
Club de l’Ouest and the FIA, want to address.
Increasing the amount of fuel available to
the independents at a time when it is being
reduced for the factories cannot be the
answer alone. Nor is giving them a weight
reduction. Neither Rebellion, nor its sole
privateer rival, Team ByKolles, can get much
additional weight out of their existing
Possibilities for the future include the
introduction of a Drag Reduction System
for private entries, but for the time being,
the chances of Rebellion improving on its
fourth-place finishes at Le Mans in 2012
and 2014 will depend on the Porsche,
Audis and Toyotas hitting big problems. The
odd delay here and there won’t be enough.
WEC LMP1 privateers Rebellion Racing already have two podiums in 2016. Could it happen at Le Mans?
more likely at Le Mans, June 18-19, in a
race four times as long as the Silverstone
6 Hours. But it’s not quite as simple as that.
The Toyota TS050 HYBRID which Kazuki
Nakajima had to drag back to the pits on
front-wheel-drive hybrid power after a
flaying rear tire destroyed a driveshaft
would have had the speed to come back
Rebellion’s AER-powered R-One LMP1
cars can’t match the factory Audis,
Porsches and Toyotas on pace.
Reliability is its ace card, but might not
be enough over 24 hours at Le Mans.
Alex Imperatori (ABOVE), Dominic Kraihamer
and Matteo Tuscher edged the star-packed
sister car of Nick Heidfeld, Nelson Piquet Jr.
and Nicolas Prost for both Rebellion podiums.