2012 recap: Metronomic Rebellion
Rebellion Racing certainly conformed to, rather than rebelled against, the stereotype of the Swiss watches it is named after in the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship. The performance of the No.12 Lola-Toyota, the drivers and pit work of the team was metronomic, reliable and classy in all but the opening and closing rounds of the series when mechanical issues let them down.
Both the Swiss team’s cars contributed towards Rebellion winning the FIA Endurance Trophy for Private LMP1 teams but it was the combination of ex F1 and F3000 drivers Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost and, for the endurance races, Nick Heidfeld, which set the tracks alight, winning four of the eight rounds including a very convincing and fault-free run at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Based in the UK, the team is a truly multinational organisation with British, Swiss, French, Italian and Dutch team members all working together alongside each other. Led by Bart Hayden, the team battled valiantly against the manufacturer entries, and was rightly proud to have finished ahead of some big names at Le Mans. They also had to contend with chassis providers Lola going into administration a month before the French classic, but ultimately the team benefited as one of Lola’s design engineers joined the team to boost their in-house resources.
The technical issues at Sebring and Shanghai were heartbreaking, not just because they occurred but because they happened so late in the races. The 11th hour of the 12 Hours of Sebring saw front end suspension problems ruin the No.12’s race, but that was nothing compared to having victory at Shanghai – and third place in the FIA WEC World Drivers’ Championship – snatched from your grasp just eight minutes before the end of the race. The transmission failure was a first for the Lola Toyota, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Bart Hayden, REBELLION Racing Team Manager: “2012 was the most demanding, but also the most successful season in the history of the REBELLION Racing team. We won the FIA WEC Endurance Trophy for Private LMP1 Teams with six victories from eight races, including Le Mans, where we finished fourth overall and prevented a clean-sweep by the Manufacturer cars. Added to that, in our only race in the ALMS, we took the overall victory to win Petit le Mans.”
We all hope for more Swiss rebellion of this nature in the future!
Fiona Miller (quote from a team press release)
Photo: AUTODROMO CARLOS PACE, INTERLAGOS (SAO PAULO, BRAZIL), 6 HOURS OF SAO PAOLO, SATURDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER 2012.