De Ferran joins Honda’s HPD as technical consultant

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Two-time CART champion and 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran will join Honda Performance Development as a technical consultant and advisor.

“I have always had the utmost respect and admiration for Honda and its role in motorsports,” said de Ferran in a statement released by the manufacturer. “Honda has been a common thread in my racing career since we first worked to develop their Indy car engines in 1996, which led to winning races and championships, followed by my time in Formula One and the amazing Acura ARX-02a. Throughout our long and storied history, whatever role I played, we have developed a great, successful, enjoyable and effective working relationship. I look forward to contributing to Honda’s efforts once again.”

For many years, De Ferran — known to his many fans as “The Professor” — has worked with the Honda/HPD camp. He won seven times in CART with Honda power, and also claimed an American Le Mans Series title in 2009 with the aforementioned Acura ARX-02a. In addition, the Brazilian served as the sporting director for Honda’s Formula One outfit from 2005 to 2007 and was a member of INDYCAR’s ICONIC committee, which was charged with creating the series’ new car concept that debuted last season.

“We’re thrilled to have Gil rejoin the HPD family as a technical consultant and advisor,” HPD president Art St. Cyr said. “It feels like a homecoming for us, as Gil has played such an important role for the Honda Racing effort in both open-wheel and sports-car racing for such a long time. His skills and expertise are almost impossible to duplicate, and we look forward to his continuing contributions to HPD’s racing programs.”

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.”