Rebellion admits wet Le Mans would be "nightmare"

Rebellion Racing admits that a wet Le Mans 24 Hours would be a "nightmare" scenario following its poor showing in the rain-affected Spa FIA World Endurance Championship round.

Rebellion admits wet Le Mans would be "nightmare"

The Swiss team, which has won two rounds of the 2019/20 WEC season so far in Shanghai and Austin, finished a distant third behind the two Toyota TS050 Hybrids in last month's Spa race, dropping a lap in the treacherous conditions of the first couple of hours.

In the dry, the Rebellion R-13 shared by Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes and Norman Nato took pole ahead of Toyotas, but struggled in the wet to the extent that it spent a portion of the race trailing the ENSO CLM/P1 of sole privateer LMP1 rival ByKolles.

Rebellion CEO Calim Bouhadra said that while he is "optimistic" of being able to threaten Toyota at Le Mans in good weather, his team will have little chance if it rains.

"I will be very honest, we have to be realistic," Bouhadra told Motorsport.com. "The race at Spa was exactly what we expected. We can’t do miracles, having a hybrid car with four-wheel drive is a big advantage in the rain.

"We were very quick, we showed it with the pole, but only in perfect conditions. You can do whatever you want with the EoT, but this is the limit of the car.

"For me it would be a nightmare, to have a good EoT but to have a Le Mans where it’s raining. Definitely we would lose our chance to compete."

Read Also:

Senna concurred that any chance of upsetting Toyota will be lost if the weather intervenes this weekend at La Sarthe.

"The car just doesn't work in the wet and we don't really have any answers," said the Brazilian driver. "Maybe it's something to do with the suspension kinematics, but that's just speculation on my part.

"All I know is that if it rains, it will be game over for us - we'll lose a lap in an hour and a half."

EoT change welcomed

Bouhadra believes that the changes to this year's Le Mans EoT, most notably the provision that will allow the privateer LMP1s to do the same 11-lap stints as the Toyotas, will make a "big difference" to Rebellion's chances of challenging in the dry.

"It’s going to bring us in the competition, and make it a more attractive situation, not just for Rebellion but for all the teams and drivers," he said.

"The cars will be closer, any mistakes will hand an advantage to the other team, so you have to always pay attention and not get too comfortable during the race. Everything will be more intense, and this is what we love about racing."

Rebellion will be fielding its second R-13 for the first time since last year's Silverstone opener at Le Mans, having abandoned plans to bring it back for Spa in favour of a private test.

Bouhadra is convinced that the #3 crew of two-time Le Mans winner Romain Dumas, Formula 2 regular Louis Deletraz and Nathanael Berthon will be a match for their opposite numbers in Rebellion's full-season #1 entry.

"I think they will be at the same level [as car #1]," said Bouhadra of the #3 crew. "Romain we know very well from our adventure in the Dakar, and Louis is young and very talented and has the potential to be in Formula 1.

"When you put them together with a guy like Nathanael, who knows the car, and is very consistent, which is important at Le Mans, I’m sure these three guys will fight very closely with car #1, so I’m happy."

Additional reporting by Gary Watkins

shares
comments
The Ferrari Le Mans underdogs bouncing back from a COVID setback
Previous article

The Ferrari Le Mans underdogs bouncing back from a COVID setback

Next article

Dominant United LMP2 squad going into Le Mans "blind"

Dominant United LMP2 squad going into Le Mans "blind"
Load comments
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans Prime

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload Prime

How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload

The 23-car GTE Am field promises to be one of the most open in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, with the added jeopardy of managing the enthusiasm of amateur drivers to boot, as Absolute Racing Porsche driver Marco Seefried explains

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021