The sole entrant of the 2017 World Endurance Championship LMP1 Privateer class, Bykolles Racing, has announced that they may not continue competing in the Championship after the summer break. Their last round would be the 6 Hours of Nurburgring next month.
Colin Kolles, ByKolles team owner, has confirmed that the team has only confirmed entrant in the championship to the German round on July 16th. After their shaky start to the season, it looks like the team may take the second half of the season to focus on making sure their car is in the best position to compete with the other LMP1 Privateer entrants that will be joining the field for the 2018 season.
Further development is needed on the ENSO CLM-NISMO P1-01 if they are to be a threat to the incoming cars from Ginetta, BR Engineering and Perrinn. Kolles has confirmed that this is the main reason behind their decision to probably not return to the grid for the final four rounds of the season.
“We’ve always said to the Automobile Club de l’Ouest [the series promoter] that the plan was to do the opening races around Le Mans and then go testing.” Kolles explained to Autosport when discussing the decision to not finish the season. “If you do the flyaway races, you only get the freight back in January and we are a small operation without the resources to have a separate test team. More P1 privateers say they are coming next year, so this is a bit of a transition season.”
Although ByKolles Racing will not commit to entering in the full season of the WEC this year, the possibility of entering on a ‘race-by-race’ basis has not been ruled out. It would be a great opportunity for the ByKolles team to see if their developments and updates improve the car over a 6-hour race duration, so they may enter in a few of the flyaway races at the end of the season.
ByKolles need to bring some improvements to the car if they wish to be competitive with the growing privateer field next season. The team wish to enter two cars under the ByKolles Racing banner in 2018 and are also open to selling their chassis to customer teams. Ex-Audi LMP1 driver Marco Bonanomi has already been confirmed to be racing in the ByKolles later this month for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he will take James Rossiter‘s seat.
So far this season, ByKolles has had a DNF in Silverstone and recorded an impressive sixth-place finish at Spa-Francorchamps last month, being faster than all of the LMP2 entrants for the first time this season. Improvement is occurring in the ByKolles team, compared to only being able to set six laps in the Prologue in Monza at the end of March.