NICK, NEEL AND NICO CHECK OUT LOLA!
Nick Heidfeld, Nicolas Prost and Neel Jani spent the morning at Lola yesterday, touring the state-of-the-art facility and catching up with Lola engineers and the 2012 Lola LMP1 updates. The trio will drive the #12 Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota in this season’s inaugural FIA World Endurance Series.
For Heidfeld it was a welcome return to the constructor with which he took the 1999 FIA Formula 3000 title. The former Sauber, BMW, Jordan and Lotus-Renault F1 driver was impressed with the capabilities he saw in Huntingdon, saying: "It is super impressive here with all the technical facilities and it brought back some nice memories for me from earlier in my career. Everyone seems very optimistic here, especially around the new LMP1 updates for our car, so I am really looking forward to working with Lola again this season."
Heidfeld, who will race at Sebring, Spa and Le Mans, also expressed his anticipation of returning to Le Mans for the first time in 13 years when he was a junior member of the Mercedes team that was forced to withdraw that year due to spectacular accidents. "Since then (1999) I have always wanted to go back to Le Mans because it is one of the nicest atmospheres I have seen at a racing event, so it was clear for me that I had to come back with a competitive package."
Nicolas Prost will be starting his third full year of LMP1 competition with Rebellion Lola-Toyota in 2012. The son of former four time World F1 champions, Alain, has carved out a promising sports car career in the Lola LMP1 and he is relishing getting back behind the wheel at Sebring.
"I think we progressed very well as a team last year and now we are looking to step up another level, starting with the Sebring 12 Hours next month. It is nice to come here and see the Lola engineers working very hard for us when we get the 2012 updates for the second round at Spa in May."
Neel Jani will once again drive the #12 Rebellion entry in 2012 and the Swiss ace is in bullish mood as the season draws closer, stating: "It is going to be a very competitive year in LMP1, especially with lots of variety in the entry list. The new World Championship is terrific and it will give us a chance to race for podium positions this year, I am sure of that. Nick (Heidfeld) is a great addition to our team this year. His experience will be valuable for us and we already have a good feeling for working together. With the engineering team around us, Lola and Toyota too, I believe that we will be able to really mount a serious challenge this season."
The sister car to the #12 Rebellion Lola-Toyota will be the #13 Lola LMP1 driven this year by Harold Primat, Andrea Belicchi. They will be joined at Sebring and Le Mans by Jeroen Bleekemolen who moves across from the #12 car.
The Sebring 12 Hours takes place on March 17 and is the 60th running of the famous season opening sports car endurance race. At least seven Lola LMP cars will be entered for the race.
Photos Lola Cars International.
Nick, Neel and Nico at Lola in Huntingdon, UK on 20th February.
Lola Design Engineer, Bruce Oliver shows the Rebellion Racing trio the latest 2012 developments.
Lola Chief Designer, Julian Sole talks Nick, Neel and Nico through the 2012 spec Lola LMP1.