Rebellion R-One - the fastest Le Mans prototype among privateers
Rebellion Racing, the best private team in the LMP1 class of FIA World Endurance Championship, is racing with a prototype named R-One, introduced in the 2014 season and upgraded for the 2015 season. The name of the car remained the same but its chassis and engine are new. The main change was the AER’s V6 turbo engine instead of Toyota’s V8 engine.
Rebellion Racing was formed in 2008 and from the start had been using Lola chassis. Toyota became the engine supplier only in 2011. Since Lola became defunct at the end of 2012, there was a need to find a replacement for the Lola B12/80 prototypes.
R-One prototype was born in 2014
Rebellion R-One was born at the beginning of 2014, with its first testing in April. The car was not ready for the first race of the World Endurance Championship, so the team raced with two old Lolas. R-One debuted in the second race at Spa – Francorchamps. Two cars, numbered 12 and 13, raced at seven championship events. Both cars were struggling with some issues that usually accompany brand new cars, but number 12, which was driven by Nick Heidfeld, Nicolas Prost and Mathias Beche, finished all the races. Number 13 finished four events.
The two cars were the only entrants in the privateer LMP1-L class for the whole championship, so they were guaranteed to win the class, but it was more interesting to compare them with the LMP2 prototypes, because the factory LMP1 prototypes of Audi, Toyota and Porsche were much stronger and faster.
The beginning wasn’t easy
In the first race at Spa, R-One had a slower lap time, finishing about two seconds behind the best LMP2 car. Post that, the situation overturned and R-One was faster by an average of two seconds per lap in all the other championship circuits.
At Le Mans, R-One had a qualifiying laptime of 3.31 minutes, compared to 3.21 of the best factory LMP1 or 3.37 of the best LMP2 prototype. At the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, number 12 R-One achieved the best season result, with overall fourth position.
Rebellion Racing chose AER engine for the season 2015
The car underwent an engine change for the 2015 season, switching to an AER (Advanced Engine Research) twin-turbo V6. Because of the extensive revisions to the chassis, the team missed the first two races of the season to modify and test the cars.
The car was tested for the first time at Paul Ricard and after that, on the official Le Mans Testing Day. The two Rebellion R-Ones were the quickest privateer cars, with the Number 12 car of Nicolas Prost achieving the best time of 3.30.508.
Design and aerodynamics were also changed
The Rebellion R-One with 2015 specifications weighing 850 kg, is powered by twin-turbo engines from Advanced Engine Research based in Basildon (Essex, UK). The AER P60 V6 GDI twin-turbocharged power unit has cca 500 hp and is mounted to a 7-speed X-Trac sequential gearbox.
To incorporate the new engines, the car has seen a significant update which took the team about 15 weeks to design, build and produce. Most changes were made to the carbon fibre composite monocoque chassis in order to make the transition from Toyota to AER power. Aside from the motor, the key differences are in the form of aerodynamics and the new cooling system. The suspension and gearbox have remained the same.
The dominaton was continued
By moving it further back, the air-intake has also been split by the rear fin in order to abide by the height regulations and to reduce drag. The entrance of the side pods has also been modified. They were made larger in order to increase the air intake and allow hot air to escape quicker and in larger quantities.
All changes and upgrades resulted with better lap times and new victories of Rebellion Racing at Le Mans and other championship races. Rebellion Racing’s domination in LMP1 private class continues and the next goal is to get an even faster car for the future.
Photos: Rebellion Racing,