Sports cars: Rebellion, Visit Florida teams confirm 2017 packages

Rebellion's 2016 car signs off next week. Photo: Getty Images

A pair of prototype teams – one in the FIA World Endurance Championship and one in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – have firmed up their packages for their respective 2017 campaigns.

Both Rebellion Racing and Visit Florida Racing will be moving from different categories into the aligned LMP2-spec type of car in 2017 after running in LMP1 non-hybrid (privateer) and Prototype (with Daytona Prototype) configurations this year.

Photo: Rebellion Racing
Photo: Rebellion Racing

Rebellion, which announced last month it would not be running in LMP1 in 2017 and would instead switch to LMP2, has confirmed a move to the Oreca 07 chassis coupe. The team has ordered two chassis for next season. This replaces the outgoing Rebellion R-ONE AERs which ran in LMP1 in the WEC this year, with the team having cut back from two cars to one after the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“The 2017 LMP2 races are going to be ultra competitive and that makes choosing the right chassis partner very important,” said Rebellion team manager Bart Hayden. “With the R-Ones, we have appreciated the skill of the ORECA designers and we have witnessed the success of their “05” LMP2 chassis, so it was almost a logical choice for us to continue our association together.  We are excited by this new challenge and are looking forward to getting our hands on the first of our new cars.”

Photo: Visit Florida Racing
Photo: Visit Florida Racing

Back Stateside in IMSA, the Visit Florida team has confirmed the purchase of a Riley Technologies Mk 30 chassis with the Gibson engine. As IMSA prepares for the new Daytona Prototype international (DPi) direction, Visit Florida shifts away from the GM presence it’s had for years to the new global LMP2-spec platform. The Troy Flis-led team had been a stalwart with the Corvette DP car for the last five years.

“I’m really happy to have these big elements of our program finalized,” Flis said. “We did our homework about all the options, and we are very excited to be going this direction. Bill and Bob Riley have an incredible record of success, and the partnership they’ve established with Multimatic for this project only adds to what they are capable of.

“Having the Gibson and the WEC bodywork means that we’ve got a lot of options as this class comes to fruition and starts to develop. This is an exciting time for everyone in IMSA, and we are very happy to be this much closer to the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona.”

Visit Florida did not confirm its driver lineup within this release. Although with Tequila Patron ESM coming back to IMSA with a Nissan DPi program and Ryan Dalziel having driven for both teams this year – Visit Florida in IMSA and ESM in the WEC – he’ll be unable to drive for both again in 2017.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”