The race against the clock for Rebellion at Fuji
The Rebellion Racing team, which fields two Lola-Toyotas in the LMP1 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship, decided some while ago to enter one car in the 1,000-mile ‘Petit Le Mans’ race, scheduled to run between the 6 Hours of Fuji and the 6 Hours of Shanghai. The driver line up of Andrea Belicchi, Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost were due to use the team’s spare car for the American event which will be held at the Road Atlanta circuit in Georgia.
Three complete cars were sent from the UK to Sao Paulo and then on to Bahrain after which they were due to go their separate ways, together with spare parts for each continent: the two WEC Lola-Toyotas were due to travel on to Asia, while the reserve car left for the USA. The plan was working perfectly until the third free practice session for the 6 Hours of Bahrain when the No.13 car was involved in contact with the No.50 Corvette. The LMP1’s tub was damaged and the decision was taken to use the reserve car for the Middle Eastern race.
The Swiss team didn’t, however, change its initial plans: the reserve car, which finished fifth in the overall classification in the 6 Hours of Bahrain, went off to Atlanta while, the day after the race, the damaged chassis was sent to England to be repaired. Parts from that car (engine, gearbox etc), were sent to Fuji with the No.12 Lola-Toyota.
Monday, 1st October: the chassis arrives at Multimatic in England.
Monday, 8th October: parts for the No.13 car are unloaded in the Fuji Speedway garage.
Wednesday, 9th October:
19:37 hours: the repaired chassis arrives at the circuit and the mechanics immediately start work
00:00 hours: the mechanics leave the garage. The fuel system and tank are in place and part of the wiring loom has been installed. The front axle has been rebuilt. The whole drivetrain has been coupled with the chassis, as well as suspension.
Thursday, 11th October: just after 16:00 hours the No.13 Lola-Toyota’s engine is fired in the garage. The car has been entirely rebuilt, ready to roll.
Friday, 12th October:
10:30 hours: the Lola-Toyota successfully passes scrutineering.
11:35 hours: the car takes to the track for the first free practice session for the 2012 6 Hours of Fuji. At the close of the day it is classified seventh and hasn’t experienced any technical problems.
The No.13 Lola-Toyota will start today's race from seventh place and will try to score maximum points to consolidate Rebellion Racing’s place in the lead for the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP1 Privateer teams, indeed maybe the battle will even be won by the Swiss team with one race of the season left to run.
Fiona Miller (information gathered by Cécile Bonardel)
Photos: OYAMA-CHO (SHINOZUKA PREFECTURE, JAPAN), FUJI INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY, 6 HOURS OF FUJI, SATURDAY, 13TH OCTOBER 2012.