REBELLION Racing is heading to France for the 90th anniversary edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours on 22-23June with confidence and strong determination. REBELLION Racing will be putting the team’s two Lola-Toyota B12/60 Coupé LMP1 prototypes through the toughest endurance aiming for a podium finish whilst battling for top Privateer and petrol powered honours , repeating last years and recent successes.
REBELLION Racing finished as the best privateer car in the 2011 and 2012 edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours (6th and 4th overall), results that helped the team to finish the season as the best Privateer in the 2011 ILMC and the 2012 FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP1 Teams in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The Swiss team go into this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours as the current leaders of the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP1 Teams after having achieved a 1-2 finish at both the first two rounds of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championsip at the 6 Hours of Silverstone and the 6 Hours of Spa.
The Swiss team were satisfied with the Le Mans test day last Sunday (9th of June).
All the latest developments and updates pleased the drivers and the engineers were reassured about the potential of the cars for the forthcoming race.
The “3N” trio that prevented Audi’s clean-sweep in last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours by claiming the fourth place finish, will be reunited in the #12 Lola-Toyota.
Nick Heidfeld (Germany), Neel Jani (Switzerland) and Nicolas Prost (France) won the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP1 awards at the 6 Hours of Silverstone and the 6 Hours of Spa and recorded an historical podium finishing at the 12 Hours of Sebring last march.
In the Team’s sister car, the #13 Lola-Toyota, Andrea Belicchi (Italy), Mathias Beche (Switzerland) and CongFu Cheng (China) will line up together for the fourth time only but will be again serious contenders for a strong result in this year Le Mans 24 Hours after two second place finishes at the 6 Hours of Silverstone and the 6 Hours of Spa.
First ‘rendez-vous’ for the team is scrutineerings in downtown Le Mans on Monday 17th june, 11h3à for Lola-Toyota #12 and 11 :40 for sister car #13. A great opportuniny for the fans and the public to meet the drivers and have a close look at the cars.
The 24 Hour endurance epic begins at 15:00 on Saturday 22 June with live television coverage on Eurosport, live Le Mans official web-tv (www.lemans-tv.com) and commentary via Radio Le Mans (www.radiolemans.com).
Bart Hayden – REBELLION Racing Team manager : “we head to Le Mans with great confidence, the races earlier this year have helped us in our preparations for the 24 hour race.
We have really strong driver line-ups in both cars we can rely on to express on the track hte potential of the cars and run a smart race.
We will be aiming to deliver our optimum performance and with a little good fortune, we could reach the podium, we consider repeating 2011 and 2012’s results as a minimum target.”
Neel Jani – Lola-Toyota N°12 :
“We are ready. I had a same training for Le Mans 24 Hours than for other races. I add a special preparation that I created to train myself to the night stints which is one of the specificity of Le Mans race. To do so, I wake up in the middle of the night (at 3 AM for example) to drive in a videogame on Playstation during a while and I go back to bed. Since last year, we are improving the car, races after races. We know that we have no chance against factiry Toyotas and Audis but we are closer than last year in term of performance and laptime. If some of their cars have a problem during the long race, we would be in a better position than ever to take advantage of it. And if, adding to that, the weather is as rainy as during the test day of last week, it could become even more interesting for us… “
Nick Heidfeld – Lola-Toyota N°12 :
“It’s always a great feeling to be in Le Mans. Last year, I went here after just three races with the team. This year, I come to Le Mans with more races with REBELLION Racing and more time spent in the car.
This year, it will be dificult to do a best result than last year. We will do our best. Obviously, the first goal is once again to finish the race.
I havn’t a special way to be prepared myself for Le Mans. I use to think of the specificity of each race one by one. At Le Mans last year, one of the keys of the race was the fuel saving. It was the important thing to think about. And I’m not really keen on fuel saving : I do prefer to go flat ! So I know that I have to improve that. Finishing 4th place last year was a good feeling for me but I didn’t enjoy to drive for fuel saving… This year, the regulation will give us more fuel capacity. At that time, we don’t know if it will be enough to push more or if we’ll have to follow a same fuel saving strategy as last year. I’m ready for the race. But you are never really prepared for Le Mans because so many can happen. So you really need a strong team behind you…”
Nicolas Prost – Lola-Toyota N°12 :
“The 90th edition is my 6th Le Mans 24 race participation, the 5th in LMP1 category with the Rebellion Racing. I always feel some pressure a few days before the race because I know that it’s a long and difficult race. But it’s not a bad pressure, only the will to do well. I have no special training for Le Mans race. My teamates and I are training all the season long to be on top for every races. One of the keys at Le Mans is to manage your sleep. But there’s no preparation for that. So we will try to do the same things we did for the first three races of the season : to put our car in first position of the privateer teams… and to try to climb higher than we could. This year, we have a good team, a good car and a team of driver that work well. We can be ambitious : a podium finishing will be a fantastic reward for all the team ! “
Andrea Belicchi – Lola-Toyota N°13 :
“For me, Le Mans is every time like the first time. Even though I have raced here several times (7th time for me), you never know in advance what will happen. And then there is the atmosphere so special, the audience so close.
We have a very good car this year. My feeling of the car during the test day at Le Mans last week was very good. With the rain on the track, we couldn’t had a full overview of the car in Le Mans configuration. But we are confident in the ability of our team to find the right set-up for the race. We have a week remaining to prepare us. “
Mathias Beche – Lola – Toyota n°13 :
“Before Le Mans 24, I have a special feeling. It’s a unexplainable mix of exciting and delighting feelings. I said “unexplainable” but I know why I feel that : the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a magic race and every time it is a great fun to be part of it, especially since I do it this year in the LMP1 class ! Le Mans race represents also a lot of sacrifices and efforts for me. Being part of it and fighting for a place of choice is also a reward for all the work done so far.
My preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the following of my training program. Throughout the year, I pay particular attention to my fitness preparation to be ready for D day.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is an intense race that also requires a lot of concentration. We must be on top. I feel ready and I look forward to get the great feeling of driving here. The team and the car are very reliable since the beginning of the season, this gives us confidence before starting the race week. “
Cong Fu Cheng – Lola – Toyota n°13 :
“The test day was a good opportunity for me to drive again on the Le Mans track as the last time I drove there was in 2008 with an LMP2 car. Because of the wet weather, track conditions were not optimal and a bit fustrating compared to the wish I have to drive here. But I am pleased with what I achieved last week. The free practice sessions next week will be very useful to be familiar again with the track and to further improve the set-up of the car before the race. To prepare myself for the race, I made a specific training in Austria. Now I look forward to drive again to continue the preparation of the car with my teammates ! “