SEBRING, Fla. (17 March 2021) – After a tough opening race for the 2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) season, Rebel Rock Racing will be looking to generate some momentum as well as a little redemption as the team returns to Sebring International Raceway for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120, (Friday 2:35 PM ET/TrackPass) Round 2 of the IMPC championship.
Sebring is close to home for the team, and despite its tricky and bumpy nature, the track has often seen Rebel Rock Racing deliver impressive pace with drivers Frank Depew and Robin Liddell on board the No. 71 Rebel Rock Racing Urban Grid Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.
The 2021 campaign opened on a tough note for the duo at Daytona International Speedway when contact loosened a headlight during DePew’s stint, with the backing screws cutting into the right-front tire. That led to several unscheduled pit stops, and a 19th place finish. While expectations were in check for the Daytona outing following significant balance of performance adjustments, the team was still disappointed not to convert its efforts into some solid points to open the year.
“It wasn’t a great start to the year, but we showed a lot of promise despite being pegged back, performance wise,” Liddell said. “We were at Sebring quite recently. We know the car performs very well there. Relatively speaking, I think we will be a bit more competitive at Sebring than we were at Daytona.”
DePew drove the first double-stint of his career to begin the four-hour race at Daytona. At Sebring, he will be tasked with qualifying and driving the opening stint.
“I was pleased with my performance in the car, especially against some of the other cars out there given how much our car was slowed by the BOP adjustment,” DePew said. “I feel I’ve improved a lot. I still have things to work on, but I felt that my speed and racecraft really showed at Daytona.”
The team has demonstrated the ability to maximize on the opportunities when they present themselves-be that a dramatic run to victory with a last-lap charge or simply generating as many points as possible when the conditions, track, or balance of performance means that a podium isn’t possible. With a consistent championship charge as the goal for 2021, the team maintains that same mindset heading to Sebring.
“I’d like to think that we can run a relatively mistake-free race,” said Liddell. “I think if we can stay out of trouble, we can have a very good result. The aim of our game for this year is to smooth out the peaks and the troughs. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage that at Daytona, but the goal is to minimize mistakes and smooth out the ups and downs.”
Running at a track that has been a key choice for the team when it comes to testing, Sebring could be a key event to elevate the team standings early in the year.
When the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge competed at Sebring International Raceway just four months ago, a promising outing went unfulfilled for Rebel Rock Racing after getting a penalty on the white flag lap, costing a runner-up finish.
The team learned that starting driver DePew had missed his minimum drive time by three seconds as Liddell was preparing to begin his final lap. Liddell was forced to pit, turning the car over to DePew for the final lap. Instead of coming home second, the team wound up 10th.
Practice for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 begins at 4:30 p.m. (all times ET) on Wednesday. Qualifying begins at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday. The two-hour race is set to take the green flag at 2:35 p.m. on Friday.