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.
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.