Looking to turn challenges of 2021 into new success in 2022
DELAND, FL (6 Dec. 2021) – Coming off a strong finish to a challenging 2021 season, Rebel Rock Racing is looking for a strong start to the 2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge campaign. The team has continuity on its side, returning for the fourth consecutive season with the No. 71 Urban Grid Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R and both of its lead drivers, Frank DePew and Robin Liddell.
Faced with a challenging Balance of Performance at the start of the 2021 season, the team managed to work through technical challenges and recovered from several on-track incidents, a mid-season break and even a driver illness to come away looking for better results in 2022.
Rebel Rock won early in the campaign at Sebring and placed fourth in the penultimate round at Virginia International Raceway, proving the competitiveness of the operation.
“We ended the season on a good note, knowing we had the potential to have a good result,” Liddell said. “We decided not to go to [WeatherTech Raceway] Laguna Seca to focus on finishing on a bit of a high, knowing it would give us momentum over the winter. More importantly, it also demonstrates to each of us how to be successful.”
The team struggled in practice at Road America late in the season with its repaired backup car, and decided to withdraw from that event along with Round 8 at Laguna Seca. The work paid off when DePew led the first laps of his professional career near the midway point at VIR.
“That was a cool moment and I feel like it was a good demonstration of not only the progress I’ve made as a driver, but also really of how the team took some punches during the year but still showed up ready to execute every weekend, and that makes me pretty excited about 2022,” said DePew.
The run out front at the home VIR round didn’t play out as promised after a late caution hurt Liddell’s chances of a podium finish, but was still a welcome weekend after the mid-season setbacks.
“We didn’t believe we had a car to win with at VIR, but we finished fourth,” Liddell said. “Really, it was not a bad result. That’s what I impressed on Frank and the team: when we have a chance to win, obviously, we want to win. But when we don’t have a chance to win, we just do the best we can and score as many points as we can. I see no reason at all why if we do that kind of job consistently, next year we can challenge for the championship. The performance was there at the end, so I see no reason why we can’t do that next year. That is the goal.”
Making the starting grid was a major challenge for the season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. DePew caught a stomach virus during the race weekend, but felt good enough to start the race near the back of the grid. He managed to gain a few positions during the opening lap before being forced off the track and into a gravel trap, costing the team two laps. Liddell took over at the midway point and came home 15th.
Building on the late-season momentum with yet another very short off-season ahead of the traditional Daytona season-opener, Rebel Rock Racing is pleased to have its 2022 program in place with the same key personnel returning to support the Chevrolet Camaro GT4 platform as the grid is expected to once again grow with more talented teams joining the fray.
“We’re looking forward to next year, committed to next year,” Liddell said. “Frank has turned a corner this year in his race craft, as we saw at VIR, so that’s proof of what he can do. We’ll be ready for 2022.
“The plan is to come back next year and do a better job.”
The 2022 gets underway with the BMW M Endurance Challenge, a four-hour race at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, Jan. 28.