Excitement across the board on Sunday

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This weekend was the first of 2013 that featured all three of the main series we cover here at MotorSportsTalk – Formula One, IndyCar, and NASCAR. And it was every bit as compelling as we could’ve hoped for.

In Formula One, the Malaysian Grand Prix was packed with drama, from Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s wing gamble going horrifically bad to Sebastian Vettel defying team orders and taking the race for himself – much to the annoyance of his teammate, Mark Webber, whose angry “Multi 21, Seb” comment in post-race instantly became one of the more memorable quotes we’ll see this season. Say what you will about the concept of team orders, but Sepang’s conclusion will only heighten anticipation for the next round at Shanghai (Sun., Apr. 14 at 2:30 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Network).

Then in IndyCar’s season opener at St. Petersburg, we saw the popular James Hinchcliffe (pictured) hold off Helio Castroneves for his first series victory and Simona de Silvestro fight like mad in the final laps to secure her first career podium. While de Silvestro couldn’t quite hold off her rivals and eventually finished sixth, she showed the talent that she’s always possessed but couldn’t completely exploit until now. Give a call to Marco Andretti as well for his podium run, which comes after a year of struggling badly on the road/street circuits, and to Chevrolet for continuing to deliver for its drivers in the engine department.

Last but not least, NASCAR had a wild finish to its day in Southern California when Kyle Busch scooted by a wrecking Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin on the last lap to win at Auto Club Speedway. Then along came Tony Stewart, who proceeded to fight Logano momentarily on pit road for what he saw as a block from “Sliced Bread” on the final restart. Unfortunately, Hamlin’s eventual hit against an inside wall would send him to the hospital, and now he has to deal with a compression fracture on his L1 vertebrae. But while that put a damper on things, it can still be argued that Sunday’s race was the best that NASCAR has put on at the two-mile oval.

All in all, if you’re a race fan, then you were fully served by the excitement across the three series on Sunday.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”