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Rebellion confirms two-car WEC entry in LMP2 for 2017

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed that it will enter two Oreca 07 cars into the LMP2 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2017 season.

Rebellion has raced in LMP1 since the formation of the WEC in 2012, as well as entering the premier class at Le Mans with at least one car for the past eight years.

The team announced in October that it would be moving down to the LMP2 class for 2017, and has now confirmed its line-up for the new campaign.

Nicolas Prost and Mathias Beche will both continue with Rebellion, having been regular fixtures with the team in recent years.

The duo will be joined by Nelson Piquet Jr., who raced for Rebellion in the opening three races of the 2016 season, and Bruno Senna, who ran with RGR Sport by Morand in LMP2 this year.

“We are very pleased to confirm our plans to enter two Oreca 07 LMP2 cars in the 2017 World Endurance Championship alongside our already announced entry with a single car in the IMSA North American Endurance Cup races,” team chief Bart Hayden said.

“We are also very happy that Nico, Mathias and Nelson will be driving with us again in 2017 and I would like to welcome Bruno to the Rebellion Racing Team.

“We were impressed with the Oreca 07 when we tested it in Sebring last week, it should be a good car to go for race victories and the championship.

“We are putting together all the ingredients to run a strong campaign in 2017.”

Rebellion recently confirmed that it would be entering the North American Endurance Cup in 2017, fielding an Oreca 07 at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.

2016 WEC drivers’ championship winner Neel Jani will race at Daytona for Rebellion alongside defending Formula E champion Sebastien Buemi, ex-Formula 1 racer Nick Heidfeld and Venturi Formula E driver Stephane Sarrazin.

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.