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Habsburg's Rebel Team scheme to open voting on young talents

Reigning European Le Mans Series champion Ferdinand Habsburg’s Rebel Team initiative is to support a promising driver into one of three different disciplines in 2024.

#31 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson: Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen

The fan-funded scheme is to open voting among its members that will enable a protege to compete in the FIA Formula 3 Championship, the new LMGT3 division in the World Endurance Championship, or the headline LMP2 class of the ELMS, in which Habsburg was triumphant last season.

This covers the three main bases of the current motorsport landscape – single-seaters, GT and sports-prototypes.

“I’m a lucky guy,” said Habsburg, who first launched Rebel Team at the Monza round of the WEC last July.

“I’m a professional racing driver who hasn’t had to struggle like crazy to get to where I wanted to in my career in the way that many drivers do.

“Their problem is almost always funding – or the lack of it – because young drivers almost always have to pay big money for their race drives, and very few of them are lucky enough to have family or backers with pockets deep enough.

“As a result, many seriously talented young drivers have no option other than to give up. I’ve seen it many times. It is very sad.”

The 26-year-old Arch Duke, heir apparent to the head of the Austrian House of Habsburg-Lorraine, is to roll out a Rebel Team voting system next month whereby members of the public can decide on which series their driver will contest, with later votes to determine driver selection and car livery.

#31 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson of Sean Gelael, Ferdinand Habsburg, Robin Frijns

#31 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson of Sean Gelael, Ferdinand Habsburg, Robin Frijns

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Membership costs US$250, with an estimate of around 5000 members required to fully fund the FIA F3 drive and 7500 for the WEC seat.

“Rebel Team has been founded to make racing more feasible for drivers who come from average-income families, and for fans everywhere,” Habsburg continued.

“We want to create the largest movement in global motorsport, populated by fans who become members and drivers who want to make those members’ experiences of following the sport we all love as brilliant as possible.

“Rebel Team will help fund young drivers’ careers, and we’ll offer our members unparalleled access and real influence.”

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Rebel Team’s public debut came in this month’s Le Mans 24 Hours, where Habsburg took fifth in LMP2 with Robin Frijns and Sean Gelael at the wheel of a WRT ORECA.

Gelael’s father is also a notable backer of young talent, and was instrumental in the careers of drivers including Antonio Giovinazzi and Tom Blomqvist.

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