Ecclestone places bid to buy famed Nurburgring track

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Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone is looking to buy perhaps the most hallowed track in the history of the sport. Reuters reported today that that the British billionaire has put in a bid to acquire the Nurburgring, which has fallen on hard times financially in recent years.

According to Reuters, the assets up for bidding include the track and an adjacent amusement park. An official for the administrators told Reuters that they would not comment on specific bidders but are looking to have a new owner in place soon so they “can start the season in April.”

The famous Nurburgring Nordschleife course has not hosted a Formula One Grand Prix since 1976 – a race known for the fiery wreck that almost took the life of three-time World Champion Niki Lauda. A smaller, modern circuit near the original has alternated with Hockenheim as host of Germany’s F1 event since 2007.

Nurburgring fell into bankruptcy in 2012 after its organization amassed major debts following the construction of a major complex at the track that included the aforementioned amusement park and a large shopping mall. Bigger crowds didn’t appear as expected, and in 2013, bidding began for potential buyers.

Ecclestone had pondered the idea of putting in a bid last year, telling one German publication, Die-Welt, in July that he was “at least thinking about” going ahead with it. But shortly after, he told another German publication, the Rhein-Zeitung newspaper, that he’d decided it wasn’t practical for him.

Now, it appears that he’s had yet another change of heart on the subject.

“We made an offer and we now wait for it to be accepted,” he’s told the Handeslblatt and Wirtschaftwoche publications according to Reuters. “We believe that we can do more than anyone else for the circuit. There could be a decision as early as in the coming weeks.”

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.”