Rebellion Racing has confirmed that it will discontinue its LMP1 Privateer programme at the end of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
The Anglo-Swiss squad has been one of the most successful non-manufacturer teams in the top category of endurance racing, with four WEC Privateer titles.
In 2017, Rebellion Racing will join the LMP2 ranks with its choice of specification chassis.
Its current LMP1 machine – the Rebellion R-One – was built in association with French constructor ORECA, which is one of the four chosen LMP2 providers for the 2017 season.
“It is an exciting time for LMP2 as new specification cars, which will be eligible to race in all the top sportscar championships around the world, are currently being unveiled by the chassis suppliers,” the team said in a statement.
“The pace of these new LMP2 cars is forecast to be significantly quicker than the current cars and with high levels of competition between the teams and the cars, the challenge is very attractive to Rebellion Racing, we are looking forward to this new adventure.”
The announcement strikes another nail in the coffin of the ACO’s LMP1 Privateer class, which is being contested this year by only two teams: Rebellion and Bykolles Racing.
The last few years have seen LMP1 running costs soar, and with the pace of the LMP2 field set to increase next year the Privateer entrants were left in a state of limbo.
“Since 2014, manufacturer development has significantly pushed the boundaries of LMP1 and, after having been the main flag bearer for the privateer entrants in the category for the past seven seasons, Rebellion Racing will next year move to the new style LMP2,” the statement continued.
Rebellion Racing joined the LMP1 class in 2009 with an Aston Martin-powered Lola. A brief move to Judd engines in 2010 was followed by a four year partnership with Toyota, which provided a normally aspirated 3.4 litre V8.
In 2014, the year Rebellion switched to the R-One chassis, the team changed engine suppliers once again to AER.
Although the pace of the Privateer cars pales in comparison to that of the hybrids, Rebellion Racing was able to scoop fourth place overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012 and 2014.
This year, the #13 car driven by Dominik Kraihamer, Matheo Tuscher and Alexandre Imperatori finished in the overall top three at Silverstone and Spa and at one point held second place in the World Championship.
Other teams, including SMP Racing and Strakka Racing, have been involved in discussions to make the Privateer class more competitive in the hope of boosting entries, but so far neither has committed to any concrete plan for 2017.