Rebellion: "No chance" of beating Toyota without mistakes at Le Mans

Rebellion Racing concedes it has "no chance" of upsetting Toyota in the Le Mans 24 Hours unless the Japanese manufacturer makes a mistake

Rebellion: "No chance" of beating Toyota without mistakes at Le Mans

The Swiss team managed to split the two Toyota TS050 Hybrids in Friday's Hyperpole session, as Gustavo Menezes qualified the #1 Rebellion R-13 within 0.555 seconds of the pole-winning time set by Kamui Kobayashi to take second on the grid.

Despite the car's pace over a single lap, Rebellion CEO Calim Bouhadra admits that the team, in what will be its final outing at Le Mans, doesn't have the speed to seriously threaten Toyota over a full race distance in a straight fight.

He admits that any chance of Rebellion finishing higher than third will hinge on a mistake-free race and Toyota hitting trouble in what is expected to be a rain-affected race.

"It's always the same story: we know that it's difficult to beat Toyota in this race, because they have still an advantage with the hybrid system and the four-wheel drive, even more if the weather is not good," Bouhadra told Autosport. "This is our biggest concern.

"We are really motivated to make no mistakes and be as close as possible to Toyota. We want to push Toyota to their limit. This is exactly our strategy.

"Definitely, we have no chance to win Le Mans with our car if they have no mistakes. We have to be perfect on our side and hope on the other side they make some mistakes. This is the only way we can imagine victory."

Menezes, who described his qualifying effort as "pretty damn close to a perfect lap", admitted that the way the Rebellion produces its lap time leaves it much more exposed to losing lap time than the hybrid-powered Toyotas when encountering traffic.

"The biggest issue is their boost, and the way they can use it to get around traffic, it puts us as a massive disadvantage," Menezes told Autosport.

"In clean running the pace is ok, but the places we make up the time are high-speed corners, so when we hit traffic, say, at the Porsche Curves, we can lose four seconds and we lose all our advantage. When they get traffic they regen, boost and they lose half as much time as we do.

"We have to push so hard just to maintain our pace through traffic, and they can take less risks, which is obviously important."

Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe technical director Pascal Vasselon said that it was "not a surprise" to see Rebellion land a slot on the front row, particularly with the latest Equivalence of Technology forcing the TS050 Hybrids to run 7kg heavier than in 2019.

"They are very quick, it's not a surprise, it's a confirmation to us," said Vasselon. "With the EoT removing performance from us race after race, at some point we have to be in trouble, and I think this year we are a bit in trouble."

Brendon Hartley, sharing the #8 Toyota that will start the race from third with Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi, also pointed to the fact that Rebellion will be able to run the same 11-lap stints as Toyota for the first time this year.

"We expected them to be a big challenge," said Hartley. "If you look last year they at some of their averages, I think they had one of the fastest averages of the race.

"We expect they made some improvements form last year and we hope we made some small improvements as well. On top of that different regulations, last year Toyota had some advantages how many laps we could do per stint, all that is gone.

"So they really have a chance to win. We have to do our job and manage the risk. It's going to be a tough fight. Not just with our team-mates, but definitely with the Rebellions as well."

shares
comments
Peugeot to delay Le Mans Hypercar test plan to late 2021
Previous article

Peugeot to delay Le Mans Hypercar test plan to late 2021

Next article

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota's Buemi heads morning warm-up session

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota's Buemi heads morning warm-up session
Why the WEC should make space for modern garagistes in 2023 Plus

Why the WEC should make space for modern garagistes in 2023

OPINION: There is plenty of excitement over the glut of manufacturers tackling the Hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship this season. The selection committee is set to face headaches over who it decides to admit and who gets turned away from the 2023 entry list, but history tells us that the smaller entrants have a place

WEC
Jan 9, 2023
Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022 Plus

Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022

The season just gone was a memorable one for many of our staff writers, who are fortunate enough to cover motorsport around the world. Here are our picks of the best (and in some cases, most eventful) from 2022

Formula 1
Dec 31, 2022
Is Qatar the price motorsport fans have to pay? Plus

Is Qatar the price motorsport fans have to pay?

OPINION: Fresh from hosting a controversial 2022 football World Cup, Qatar has added its name to the 2024 World Endurance Championship calendar. Although questions may be asked about its presence on the calendar, is it simply the price to pay for having a healthy racing championship?

WEC
Dec 21, 2022
How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title Plus

How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title

Toyota #8 trio Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa outscored their rivals in the last season before the World Endurance Championship’s top class gets ultra-competitive. Here's how their Hypercar battle with Alpine and the remaining class tussles played out in LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am

WEC
Dec 5, 2022
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Plus

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause Plus

The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause

Track limits are the problem that motorsport doesn't seem to be able to rid itself of. But the use of so-called 'sausage kerbs' as a deterrent has in several instances only served to worsen the problem, and a growing number of voices want to see action taken

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2022