The Rebellion Racing team has confirmed the signing of former F1 driver Nick Heidfeld for three rounds of the new FIA World Endurance Championship – including the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Rumours emerged last week suggesting that the German could be set for a role with the team for the season ahead, with confirmation now coming that he will partner Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost in Rebellion's #12 Lola-Toyota for three races in 2012.
Heidfeld's debut will come in the Sebring 12 Hours before he rejoins the team for the six hour race at Spa. The German will then return to Le Mans for the first time since 1999 for the annual 24 Hours of Le Mans in the summer.
“I am really looking forward to this new challenge and I am especially excited that the first race in Sebring, being a new circuit for me, is only a few weeks away,” he said. “Since I did Le Mans in 1999 I always knew that I wanted to come back to endurance racing.
“I am very happy to join Rebellion Racing and hope I can help building up on their already impressive achievements which include winning the Team and Manufacturer championship in the Le Mans Series and finishing just behind the Peugeot and Audi works teams in the Intercontinental Le Mans cup.”
Rebellion team manager Bart Hayden welcomed the addition of Heidfeld to his team's line-up after the German was unable to secure a role in F1 for 2012.
"We had a number of options for high profile drivers joining our Team for the longer distance race events such as Sebring and Le Mans,” he said. “Nick Heidfeld was available and was looking for a new challenge. Nick will be a valuable addition to the team, he is quick, highly-experienced, enthusiastic and very happy to be part of Rebellion Racing. We are pleased to welcome Nick to the team and are looking forward to the start of the season next month at the Sebring 12 Hours, opening round of the new FIA World Endurance Championship.”
Rebellion also confirmed that Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen would rejoin the squad for Sebring and Le Mans, switching from the Prost/Jani car to partner Andrea Belicchi and Harold Primat in the second entry.
Bleekemolen was part of the line-up that achieved the team's best result at Le Mans 24 Hours, with a sixth place overall finish and first petrol-powered car.
"I am pleased to have Jeroen back with us again this year in the two longest races of the season," Hayden noted, "He is a good endurance driver with consistency and speed and great team spirit."