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.

Montoya: ‘Hopefully I get a chance to do Indy again’ (VIDEO)

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Juan Pablo Montoya is on site at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, his latest trip in a summer and fall filled with a lot of international travel and a number of different race cars he’s been in.

Montoya is committed to a full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Acura Team Penske in 2018, as he’ll share one of the team’s Acura ARX-05s with Dane Cameron.

However, the question of whether he’ll be able to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil remains.

Team Penske has said it plans to only run four cars next month of May, with Helio Castroneves as the fourth driver alongside the three full-time cars driven by Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

While Montoya has said elsewhere that he’s shopping offers and has talked with other teams, it’d be highly surprising to see the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion who developed the Chevrolet engine for IndyCar’s 2018 Dallara universal body kit in a Honda-powered IndyCar, although he is running Honda’s brand (Acura) in sports cars.

Montoya elaborated on his Indy 500 prospects in an interview with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton at the Circuit of The Americas.

“Not full-time no,” Montoya told NBCSN of his IndyCar 2018 prospects. “Hopefully I get a chance to go to Indy, hopefully with Penske, (and) if not someone else. We’ll see.”

Photo: IndyCar

Montoya has extolled the early testing both on the 2018 IndyCar and on the Acura ARX-05.

The first Acura chassis has run at Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway thus far, and will be put through its paces at other venues over the next few months.

“It’s been good. We did a lot of work with INDYCAR on that car. Fans are gonna like it,” Montoya said of the 2018 kit.

“Going to IMSA with the Acura program, we’ve done a lot of testing. It’s a beauty to drive. It drives better than what it looks! I haven’t had that much fun driving a race car in a long time.”

Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race car to be campaigned by Team Penske in 2018