Team ByKolles were able to extract plenty of positives from their FIA World Endurance Championship debut, despite failing to finish the race.
The Austro-German squad entered the 6 Hours of Silverstone as the only LMP1 privateer, and while the #4 CLM-AER P1/01 struggled for outright pace it was able to complete over five hours of consistent running.
The issues began on Friday morning when Simon Trummer was left grounded after a French air traffic control strike hit most of Europe. Team SARD Morand’s Christian Klien was drafted in to replace Trummer, who eventually managed to arrive in England in time for Sunday’s race. Former Toro Rosso F1 driver Vitantonio Liuzzi completed the line-up.
After setting the 11th fastest time in qualifying, the team began the race in the middle of a dense LMP2 field. On the opening lap Liuzzi got as far as The Loop when he collided with an LMP2 car; the contact being enough to confine the CLM to its pit garage for around half an hour.
The underside received most of the mechanics’ attention, while damage to some of the CLM’ aerodynamic components compromised its speed once it was able to re-join the action in the hands of Trummer.
After a consistent anchor leg from Trummer, Klien was tasked with bringing the car home. However, the former Red Bull F1 driver was forced to stop the car on-track after an engine ancillary failure halted the CLM’s steady progress.
“Our lap times were much faster towards the end of the race than at the beginning”, he said. “Even if we were forced to finish the race early, I had a great weekend and it was a lot of fun. I’m very grateful to the team to have the opportunity to join them at the last minute.”
Team ByKolles director of operations Boris Bermes was disappointed at the final result, but remains upbeat after giving the CLM an extensive weekend of running.
“It’s unfortunate that we had to finish the race earlier than we thought especially due to a situation out with our control, but as always, we have to take the positives: we had three great training sessions – one of which was in the rain, that’s great preparation for the races ahead”, he summarised. “Now we are looking forward to the race at Spa- Francorchamps and, with the experience of Silverstone under our belt, we feel well prepared for the second race.”