Preparing for the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship, Rebellion Racing have their eyes locked on Toyota Gazoo Racing as they confirmed their single-entry for the full season.
The Rebellion team took two cars to the Prologue at Barcelona, using it as a chance to trial out as many drivers as they could for the full season seats. After much discussion, and deciding their position on running one or two cars for the full season campaign, the team settled on only one full season car, meaning the six drivers that tested needed to be reduced to three.
Gustavo Menezes and Bruno Senna stay on with the team from last season, coming together after being in separate Rebellions last year, with new-to-a-full-season-WEC-drive Norman Nato in the final seat. The team expressed they were ‘surprised’ by Nato’s pace, which lead to him securing his position with them.
Nato, who made his WEC debut earlier this year with TDS Racing in LMP2, has had a handful of experience in endurance racing. He was racing in Formula 2 in 2017, and although has not landed a full season sports car drive ahead of the Rebellion seat, he has taken part in many races with LMP2 teams.
Although the team will only be entering one full-season drive for the 2019/20 season they have expressed intent to enter two cars into the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans. At the moment, the rules dictate that a single entry LMP1 car cannot enter Le Mans, but with only five cars on the grid this may be reviewed ahead of next year’s blue-riband event.
Ahead of the new season, however, Rebellion are confident that Toyota will not be running away with the championship as much as they did in the Super Season. Their increased pace in comparison to last year, along with the new handicap systems that the FIA/WEC have introduced for the LMP1 class makes team CEO Calim Bouhadra confident the team can challenge for some overall victories.
“The Prologue confirms that we can be serious [in competing with Toyota],” Bouhadra told Motorsport.com. “It’s the result of the work we did just before Le Mans.
“The FIA and ACO changed the regulations with the new EoT, ballast. All these things I hope will mean it’s different, because I want to compete with someone. Don’t get me wrong, the new regulations are not a gift for Rebellion. I don’t want people to think that. It’s just to try to have a fair competition.
“I think we were very patient last season, but it was not fair for the spectators, for us, or for anyone. We want to compete fairly, with a good balance. It’s just logical.”