Swiss LMP1 team Rebellion Racing has claimed its second FIA WEC victory this season after dominating today’s Lone Star Le Mans, round 5 of WEC Season 8.
Over 22,000 spectators came to watch the spectacular LMP and GTE machinery this weekend as the World Championship made a welcome return to Texas for the first time since 2017. It also marked the first of a USA double-header as the WEC prepares to join IMSA in Florida next month for the highly-anticipated SuperSebring.
The non-Hybrid Rebellion R13 Gibson car driven by Gustavo Menezes (USA), Norman Nato (France) and Bruno Senna (Brazil) led today’s 6-hour race from start to finish and in the doing so successfully closed in on championship leaders, Toyota Gazoo Racing. Rebellion now lie 33 points behind Toyota in the overall championship standings.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s No. 8 and No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid cars finished second and third respectively. The No. 8 crew driven by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley eventually finishing 51.524s behind race leaders, Rebellion Racing.
With success handicap in play, Toyota’s strategy was to regain some of the time lost out on track during the pitstops but a near-perfect performance from Rebellion dashed any hopes of the Japanese squad taking the competitive edge.
The No. 7 crew driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez rounded out the podium in LMP1, the crew eventually finishing two laps behind race victors, Rebellion.
Second consecutive victory for United Autosports
The LMP2 category saw its highest number of entries so far this season with nine cars all battling it out for the win on Texan soil.
In the hunt for overall supremacy, it was the No. 22 United Autosports that eventually crossed the finish line first as the ORECA 07 driven by Filipe Albuquerque, Phil Hanson and Paul Di Resta ended the race 24.152s ahead of runners-up Jackie Chan DC Racing.
United Autosports’ win is the tenth ever LMP2 victory for a British-flagged team and sees the team catapulted to the top of the standings with a four-point lead over JCDCR.
The team did not look likely winners initially but the trio’s consistency and a last splash-and-dash in the final hour ensured the trio had done enough to secure the victory over Will Stevens, Ho-Pin Tung and Gabriel Aubry in the No. 37 car.
JOTA Sport’s No. 38 ORECA belonging to Anthony Davidson, Antonio Felix da Costa and Roberto Gonzalez rounded out the top three. Both the No. 37 and No. 38 crews were equipped with Goodyear’s tyres making it a double podium for the WEC’s newest tyre manufacturer.
Meanwhile, a close battle for fourth position raged between Cool Racing’s Nicolas Lapierre and Racing Team Nederland’s Nyck de Vries in the race’s closing stages but eventually ended with pole-sitters Cool Racing coming out top. De Vries could take some solace, however, after the Dutch driver set a new fastest lap record in LMP2.
Elsewhere, Signatech Alpine Elf lost two laps following a brake failure on their Alpine A470 during the third hour, eventually seeing the French team finish sixth. American squad DragonSpeed dropped to ninth and last in class following a brake problem with just ten minutes of the race remaining.
The WEC will now take a short break as it prepares for the upcoming 1000 Miles of Sebring which takes place in just under one month’s time (18-20 March).
For the final race results, click HERE.
For the latest championship standings, click HERE.