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.

Meyer Shank Racing wins second consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona to begin GTP era

Rolex 24 Meyer Shank
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Grand Touring Prototype era began just as the previous one ended as Meyer Shank Racing’s Acura captured its second consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona with star Tom Blomqvist emphatically starting and finishing the race.

The No. 60 ARX-06 won the 24-hour endurance classic at Daytona International Speedway by 4.190 seconds over Filipe Albuquerque of Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport, giving Acura a sweep of the top two spots.

The Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-LMDh cars took the next two spots with Renger van der Zande (the No. 01) and Earl Bamber (No. 02) as four of the nine new GTP cars finished on the lead lap within 12 seconds of each other – quashing the prerace hand-wringing of mass failures for the highly technical cars in the debut of the hybrid prototype premier category.

There were major problems for the manufacturer newcomers Porsche Penske Motorsport and BMW M Team RLL, whose two pairs of cars all finished at least a dozen laps down or more because of major mechanical problems in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener.

But there were no such failures for Acura despite the manufacturer skipping any endurance testing with the new LMDh car.

It’s the third Rolex 24 at Daytona victory for co-owner Mike Shank, who won his first in 2012.

Just as he capped the 2022 season by winning the Petit Le Mans season finale in the No. 60 Acura to clinch the final championship of the DPi division for MSR, Blomqvist was behind the wheel again for his third overall victory in IMSA.

“That was crazy,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “I knew we had a fantastic car. I’ve been working hard. Unbelievable. Massive, well done, everyone being part of this project and worked together on this project. What a car we’ve built.

“I was just a bit nervous. The 10 was definitely second fastest car, but we held them off.”

It was the second consecutive Rolex 24 victory for MSR’s trio of Blomqvist, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves, who were joined this year by Colin Braun (winning his first Rolex 24 overall).

Castroneves joined select company in winning the Rolex 24 in three consecutive years (his first win was with Wayne Taylor Racing in 2021). Castroneves and Pagenaud are entering their second consecutive year as teammates for Meyer Shank Racing’s Dallara-Hondas in the NTT IndyCar Series.

“Can you believe that?” Castroneves told Lee. “Big props to everyone. Everyone did an amazing job. Everybody worked so hard together. We got it! Another one. I can’t believe it. This is absolutely a dream come true.”

The four-time Indy 500 winner led the team in his signature fence-climbing celebration afterward — just as he had when he finished MSR’s victory in last year’s Rolex 24 and when he won the 2021 Indy 500 for the team.

“It’s always fun to climb the fence with Helio,” said Pagenaud, who drove the second-to-last stint before Blomqvist closed it out: “The competition as amazing. It was tough out there. So much fun. Hope you had as much fun as we had. I’m going to savor this one.”

Winners in other classes were the No. 55 ORECA 07 of Proton Competition (which triumphed on a last-lap pass by James Allen on Ben Hanley), WeatherTech Racing’s No. 79 Mercedes in GTD Pro, Heart of Racing’s No. 27 Aston Martin in GTD and AWA’s No. 17 in LMP3.