Rebellion needs to "wake up" to challenge Toyota in wet conditions at Le Mans

Norman Nato says Rebellion Racing must "wake up" and improve its wet weather performance relative to Toyota after finishing a distant third in Spa's World Endurance Championship round

Rebellion needs to "wake up" to challenge Toyota in wet conditions at Le Mans

The solo Rebellion-Gibson R-13 started from pole position last weekend after heading all four timed sessions, each held in dry conditions, prior to the 6 Hour race, but lost out to the pair of Toyota TS050 HYBRIDs when the race went green after four laps on the wet track behind the safety car.

The car shared by Nato, Bruno Senna and Gustavo Menezes fell a lap down on the best of the Japanese cars inside two hours and was never able to make up the lost ground on the way to a distant third place.

The car was up to seven seconds off the pace around the 4.35-mile Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps when the track was at its wettest, and afterwards Nato said the team had no explanation for its lack of wet-weather pace.

"Tricky conditions have been difficult for us in the past, and it has been difficult today, more than expected to be honest," Nato said.

"We knew that we couldn't fight with the Toyota [in the rain], but we shouldn't have been that far away — maybe a second or two maximum, but not seven seconds.

"We just need to understand what's happening.

"So far we don't know what the problem is: it's a lack of grip in general."

Nato said that it is imperative that Rebellion overcome the problem before the Le Mans 24 Hours on 19/20 September if conditions are similarly unpredictable.

"If at Le Mans we have these kind of tricky conditions, it's going to be a tough race for us," he said.

"We need to wake up and find at least half of the problem for Le Mans."

Nato explained Rebellion was unable to switch on the Michelin tyres, a problem it encountered in both wet and dry over the 2018/20 WEC superseason when the LMP1 privateers were running tyres designed for the hybrid Toyota.

A development programme ahead of the current campaign was designed to address that problem.

Nato said that the biggest problem for the Rebellion drivers came when there was standing water on the track.

"As soon as there is water we are suffering with aquaplaning and general grip — it wasn't easy to keep the car on track," he said.

Rebellion was a strong favourite to reprise its 2019/20 WEC victories at Shanghai and Austin because it was running a significantly smaller penalty than the Toyotas under the system of success handicaps introduced for LMP1 this year.

The Rebellion was penalised by 1.58s, the #8 Toyota by 3.08s and the winning #7 Toyota by 3.52s.

The Rebellion was also running in high-downforce specification, whereas Toyota compromised its performance at Spa by choosing to run the low-downforce version of its Le Mans kit.

The Rebellion was competitive over the final three and a half hours of the race after the track dried.

It was seven hundredths faster than the winning Toyota over its fastest 50 laps in this portion of the race.

"It's a negative in terms of race result, but it's not a negative in terms of a weekend because the pole we had was quite good," Nato said.

"During the race, we tried to give the feedback to the engineers on tyre pressures to understand it for the future."

shares
comments
Laurent apologises for "unforgivable" crash in WEC Spa round
Previous article

Laurent apologises for "unforgivable" crash in WEC Spa round

Next article

ByKolles: Spa WEC "best ever performance" in LMP1

ByKolles: Spa WEC "best ever performance" in LMP1
Load comments
Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021 Plus

Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez scored a second successive World Endurance Championship title in the #7 Toyota, as its new Le Mans Hypercar went unbeaten. Autosport recaps how each of the four classes in the 2021 season were won and picks out the best LMH and GTE drivers

WEC
Nov 28, 2021
The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending Plus

The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending

OPINION: The deeply unsatisfying ending to a brilliant World Endurance Championship GTE Pro battle in Bahrain had Ferrari provisionally heading back from the desert as the victor. But Porsche plans to appeal the outcome, which rests on a number of confusing elements that have yet to be satisfactorily explained

WEC
Nov 9, 2021
How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint Plus

How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint

The Ferrari versus Porsche fight for the World Endurance Championship's GTE Pro title had been a finely-poised affair, right up until Alessandro Pier Guidi's punt on Michael Christensen in the closing stages of the Bahrain 8 Hours handed Ferrari a provisional title, pending Porsche's appeal. Here's how the controversy played out

WEC
Nov 8, 2021
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Plus

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
How the #7 Toyota squad moved closer to clinching WEC's 2021 title Plus

How the #7 Toyota squad moved closer to clinching WEC's 2021 title

In the penultimate round of the 2021 World Endurance Championship, a better run of tyre wear for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi brought the Toyota trio its third win from five events, as the #7 squad put one hand on the title. Here's how the first of the WEC's two Bahrain enduros played out

WEC
Nov 1, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Plus

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021