Former Formula 1 star Robert Kubica will make a welcome return to track racing in 2017 after signing to race for the ByKolles Racing squad in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The Polish driver, a one-time winner in Formula 1 during his time with the BMW Sauber Team before a rally crash and subsequent injuries ended his F1 tenure, will be joined at the team by Oliver Webb, who continues with ByKolles for a second season.
For Kubica, it will be the first high-profile track championship he will contest since his rallying crash in 2010, although he has contest thirty-three rallies in the World Rally Championship since 2013, and made a one-off appearance in the Renault Sport Trophy at Spa-Francorchamps last year.
“After my time in Rally I’ve been looking for something as close to Formula One as possible,” said Kubica. “This is exactly what I’ve found in LMP1.
“At the end of last year’s WEC-Season, I was able to do my first laps behind the wheel of the CLM P1/01. I felt comfortable in the car very quickly and was able to increase my pace accordingly. With even more experience I’m sure I will be able to extract more performance.
“I’m already very much looking forward to the Prologue in Monza and the season start in Silverstone. The professional team of ByKOLLES Racing will continue to make important improvements to the car during the season. I’m happy to be a part of it.
“The WEC is racing on circuits that I know well from my time in Formula One. The exception is Le Mans. I’ve heard so many good things about the event at the Sarthe. I’m very excited about my first start at this 24-Hour race.”
Webb is happy to be returning to the ByKolles squad for a second season and to be racing alongside Kubica, and although 2017 is likely to be a relatively lonely year for the team as the only non-Hybrid entrant in the LMP1 category, he still knows there is work to be done to optimise what they can do.
“I’m very happy that I will be once again competing in the FIA WEC in LMP1, together with the ByKOLLES crew and F1 legend Robert Kubica,“ said Webb. “It’s great that we have the Nismo engine in our car from now on.
“For 2018 it looks like it will be a good and intense competition in the LMP1 category. For this year the field of LMP1 privateers will be very modest but we will use the season to optimise our car to the new engine and improve numerous other things.
“To be competing at Le Mans once again, with Robert along-side us is going to be fantastic – it’s a dream come true!“