Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer have expressed interest in staying in the World Endurance Championship after Porsche LMP1 Team left the sport at the end of this season. Jani had claimed that he was in talks with a few teams whilst Lotterer had established that he was going to keep an eye on the new LMP1 Privateer field.
Both drivers had made the change to Formula E, but it has since been made clear that the duo still have a passion for sports car racing. Both Jani and Lotterer are set to make immediate returns to the WEC paddock, joining with new LMP1 privateer for next year, Rebellion.
The duo have agreed to join Rebellion as the team, who won the LMP2 Trophy this season, look to going back into LMP1 after a year in LMP2. Now with more LMP1 Privateer cars coming into the field, there is definitely going to be more competition for the 2018/19 season.
With an agreement established between WEC and Formula E to not have a repeat of the calendar clash that happened at this year’s 2017 6 Hours of Nurburgring, there is no reason for Jani or Lotterer to have to miss any of the five WEC races occurring next year.
Rebellion are yet to make any statement on their two-car line up for next year, but the programme is rumoured to be confirmed as early as this week. The last that Rebellion said on the matter of next year was from team boss Bart Hayden. He confirmed that Rebellion was looking to return to LMP1 after their successful sole year in LMP2 and implied that a decision about the team’s future could be made by the middle of December.
Jani has a history with the Rebellion team. He was part of the Swiss-team’s program from 2009 before he signed with Porsche in 2014. If Rebellion do make the step up to LMP1, which is suspected, the ex-Porsche team mates will be joined in the two cars by a line up combined of this year’s Rebellion drivers and some new faces.
Bruno Senna, one of the 2017 LMP2 Trophy Championship winners, is set to stay on board the Rebellion car along with sister car driver Mathias Beche. Gustavo Menezes and Thomas Laurent are also names that appear in the mix when discussing Rebellion’s 2018/19 line up. These six drivers could make for a very competitive line up if they are who Rebellion decides to sign.
From the looks of things, Rebellion will continue their work with ORECA if they return to LMP1. ORECA built the team’s 2014-16 LMP1 privateer contender and also supplied the chassis that took Rebellion to winning their inaugural year in LMP2.
However, Hayden has ruled out simply updating the R-One, last raced in 2016, but has also made it clear that Rebellion would “want our own car.” rather than buying a developed LMP1-privateer off the shelf like a Ginetta or BR Engineering.