FIA WEC: Rebellion R-One unveiled at Spa

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This weekend marks a double-header worldwide sports car weekend with the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in Monterey.

At the former, while the manufacturer entries all premiered their new cars ahead of the season opener in Silverstone, the top privateer has launched its new challenge, in livery, officially on Thursday.

Rebellion Racing’s new R-One – which has had only five days of testing prior to Spa this weekend – makes its official debut after the team was allowed to run grandfathered Lola Toyota coupes at Silverstone.

Team principal Bart Hayden views the weekend as an extended test program, to gain mileage and further development ahead of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“Just getting to Spa with two new cars is already a massive achievement for the team,” Hayden said. “Everyone has given everything that they have to get these cars ready and I’m very proud of the work ethic and professionalism of everyone that has been involved.

“Our expectations for the race are quite modest, we anticipate new car teething problems, but we considered it to be crucial to be at Spa to give ourselves the very best preparation for Le Mans. We start a new chapter for the team this weekend and we hope that it will be a great continuation of what has already been a fantastic story for REBELLION Racing.”

The team’s R-Ones are driven by Nicolas Prost, Nick Heidfeld and Mathias Beche (No. 12), Andrea Belicchi, Dominik Kraihamer and Fabio Leimer (No. 13). The last two in the No. 13 are new recruits for this season.

Rebellion has focused exclusively on a WEC program for 2014 after also entering part-time American Le Mans Series programs the last two seasons, and won the Petit Le Mans overall both in 2012 and 2013 at Road Atlanta with the Lolas.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”