Swiss-based Rebellion Racing has announced that Nelson Piquet Jr will be joining the team for the Le Mans 24 Hours and the first two rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone and Spa. He will complete the previously-announced driver line-up of Nick Heidfield and Nico Prost. Piquet Jr is no stranger to endurance racing, having piloted an Aston Martin DBR9 to 4th in class at the 2006 Le Mans 24 Hours as well as winning the GT1 class at Mil Milhas Brasil in the same year.
“I am thrilled to be joining Rebellion Racing for several races this season including, of course, the Le Mans 24 Hours,” said Piquet Jr. “That race is one of the most special motorsports events in the world and I loved it so much when I raced there in 2006 that it has been very high on my list ever since to do it again. I couldn’t be happier than to be doing it with such a great team and together with Nico and Nick as my teammates. I can’t wait to get in the car at Paul Ricard later this month to begin our preparations.”
Bart Hayden, Team Manager of Rebellion Racing, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Nelson Piquet Jr to the Rebellion Racing team. As the reigning Formula E champion, Nelson has raced against Nico and Nick, but now the three of them will be partnering together in one car for Rebellion Racing and we are confident they will be strong teammates. Le Mans requires the best level of preparation, so we are also pleased that Nelson will be able to drive at the Prologue and the first two rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone and Spa. We are only a few weeks away from the Prologue and are all looking forward to the start the new season.”
Manor has announced that 21-year-old Matt Rao will be joining its driver line-up for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship.
Rao began his racing career in karts in 2009, progressing to cars in 2011 when he finished 2nd in the Formula Ford GB Scholarship class. In 2012 he won the Duratec class as well as finishing in 10th place overall in the championship. 2014 saw Rao finish as runner-up in the British Formula 3 Championship before he graduated to FIA European F3 with Fortec Motorsports in 2015. Rao was given his first experience of driving prototypes when he was invited by Signatech Alpine to take part in last year’s end-of season WEC Rookie test in Bahrain.
“Manor has a history of working with some great young drivers and we are delighted to welcome another talented youngster to the team,” said Manor WEC Team Principal, John Booth. “Matt is a very exciting prospect. Last year’s WEC Rookie Test provided him with an opportunity to get to grips with LM P2 machinery for the first time and we are now looking forward to going racing with him in 2016 and seeing what results we can achieve together.
Matt Rao commented: “I’m really pleased to be part of this exciting new challenge with Manor. They have a fantastic reputation and I know that their experience and professionalism will deliver great results. LM P2 has become an ultra-competitive series which is full of top quality drivers and teams,. I am looking forward to The Prologue and driving the ORECA 05 for the first time.”
Manor’s driver line-up is now complete, the team having previously announced the signing Will Stevens and the return of James Jakes. The Prologue will be held on the 25th and 26th of March with the first round of the championship at Silverstone on the 17th of April.