Rebellion needs to "win when it can", says Senna

Bruno Senna says Rebellion Racing needs to "win when it can” as it braces itself for a difficult end to its final campaign in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Senna, Gustavo Menezes and Norman Nato dominated the Lone Star Le Mans event at Austin in the #1 Rebellion R-13, comfortably outpacing the two heavily-ballasted Toyota TS050 Hybrids in a reduced LMP1 field.

The result marked the second triumph of the season for the Swiss outfit, which announced earlier this month that it will pull out of motorsport after this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

While Austin was a straightforward affair for Rebellion, Senna insists it was a case of the team maximising its opportunities before the advantage shifts back to Toyota in the final three races of the season.

“It’s tricky because of course with the technology difference between the cars, it’s not easy to find a formula that works perfectly,” Senna told Motorsport.com when asked about a lack of competition in the series’ top class. 

“We are not here to just come and win a race. Taking a race win is always nice, but we want to compete. It’s much more exciting when everything is like hard fought for. 

“I’d say there are a few ways to make it better, that I would think of but the same time when we think about it, we go to Le Mans, there would be no BoP at all and Toyota would just….we’d be racing the LMP2s rather than the Toyotas. It’s one of those things. 

“We have to take every win we can because we are on the backfoot anyway whenever everything is normal. So we take every win we can, but I agree I’d like to really have hard racing all the time.

“I love the LMP2 for that, I love GTE Pro for that, it was fantastic. And even GTE Am when I did the race in Fuji [in 2013]. so we expect LMP1 to be the same. So far it’s been a bit of a swingy.”

“Survival” mode in Sebring

Senna expects WEC’s next American round in Sebring to be a case of “survival” for Rebellion, describing the track’s bumpy nature as the “worst enemy” for the R-13.

“Bahrain for instance we had a really nice advantage as well on paper and the car was actually working better than expected there,” Senna explained.

“But traction circuits like hairpin, tractions and bumps are really the worst enemy of our car. Here [in Austin], especially when the Toyota has more hybrid boost, it really put us in the backfoot. 

“So I think Sebring we’ll just try to survive. I think the most important thing for us from Sebring, from the perspective of Sebring is not having any issues with the car.  

“If we can go through Sebring without having any failures in the car, if we can finish the race without any issues, maybe we can actually go through Le Mans without any issues and that’s what we are really looking forward to.”

Rebellion’s decision to end its LMP1 programme as part of a wider exit for motorsport leaves Senna without a drive in WEC, where he has been actively competing since 2016.

There are limited seats available in the top class of the 2020/21 WEC season following Aston Martin’s announcement that it has paused its hypercar programme, although both ByKolles and Glickenhaus are aiming to join the category alongside Toyota.

Senna insists he is willing to take a year off racing or look for alternate opportunities in other championships if he is unable to find a competitive drive in WEC.

“It’s tricky,” Senna said when asked how Rebellion’s announcement impacts his future in the series. “It’s obviously very early because they announced it this month. 

“And honestly for me it’s a question of finding a good drive. I think if I don’t get anything good for the next season, maybe I’ll stay out for season or something and find something else in a different championship that is not missing period. 

“Like IMSA next year or something like this. The bad thing is that we are not gonna be racing the WEC with the Rebellion next season. The good news is that it’s still February, we can still probably sort something out. 

“As long as it’s good, it’s good for me. Have a lot of busy times with McLaren Automotive, so that keeps me going quite hard. I wouldn’t be racing of course if I don’t find anything good. I’ll take my time.”

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