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Kubica Chasing WEC Drive

Robert Kubica considers WEC move after ByKolles test…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Robert Kubica expressed interest in pursuing a return to road racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship after testing with ByKolles CLM P1/01 AER in Bahrain on Sunday.

The 31-year-old Pole has not competed regularly since his Formula 1 career was abruptly ended by a rallying accident in 2011, which required two years of surgery on his right arm.

After spending three seasons in the World Rally Championship, Kubica stepped up his preparations with one-off appearances in the 24H Series and Renault Sport Trophy in 2016, before accepting an invitation from Colin Kolles to drive his LMP1 Privateer car in the WEC Rookie Test.

He completed 27 laps in the test and set the car’s fastest time of the day, beating regular driver Pierre Kaffer.

“Of course LMP1 doesn’t need to be introduced. All motorsport fans know about LMP1, it’s kind of Formula 1 with covered wheels,” he said.

“The races are high-level races. It’s not that you go chill out and you do 12 hours, 24 hours cruising – you have to push.

“Because it’s something new, I’m not 100 percent sure I will like it, but on the other hand every new challenge gives you some extra motivation to try them to see if you can do it well.

“But for sure if I would decide to do it, it’s because I want to do it, not because I don’t have anything else to do. I came here just to see, to get rid of some doubts I have.”

Kubica admitted concern that the limited mobility in his right arm could pose difficulties, but came away encouraged that he could compete in long-distance races.

“It was not easy and I would prefer to have a proper seat-fitting in a factory before driving,” he said.

“Fortunately it worked out pretty well and I was quite comfortable in the car, not 100 percent, but I could drive still. We used it as kind of a rollout, checking if I can fit in the car and it was okay.

“For sure because of my limitations, endurance races are quite difficult because there are driver changes which you have to do as fast as possible. You cannot build up your cockpit around yourself.”

Kubica also explained that following the termination of his rally program, he had hoped for his 2017 plans to be confirmed by October.

He is understood to have been pushing for a DTM seat before all three manufacturers downsized from eight to six cars, which led him to consider the WEC.

However, Kubica is conscious that his name is still held in high-regard and he can afford to wait for the right opportunity to come along.

“The fact is I do not know what I will be doing, and to be honest it’s a bit of putting me, not under pressure, but I admit I would prefer to know,” he said.

“But on the other hand I don’t want to hurry. If something good comes, I will speak about it.

“I know there are areas where I will need to dedicate a bit of time if I will become a proper endurance race driver, but I think if most of the drivers can get used to it and they manage to do it, I don’t see the reason why I shouldn’t do it.

“The category is a very high level and I think it’s growing up a lot, although Audi pulled out which is a shame, but for sure endurance races plus Le Mans makes something very attractive.”

James Newbold (@James_Newbold) is a UK-based freelance motorsport journalist. A graduate of Politics and International Relations, James is also the editor of Autosport Performance.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. theunknownmotorsportfan

    November 20, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    He would be better off at first in LMP2 rather than LMP1 off the bat.

    Wait until LMP1 gets more manufactures and more teams on board and then go for it. Some LMP2 team would like to have him on board.

  2. GTurner38

    November 20, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    If he’s concerned about the limitations of his right arm, perhaps ELMS is a better place to start since he would only have to do one stint as a platinum driver.

    • Fabio

      November 21, 2016 at 6:31 am

      Is he still a platinum? He hasn’t competed in a while…

      • Jim

        November 21, 2016 at 4:37 pm

        He is quick, that has never been doubt. He has not lost his speed as the lap times suggest. It’s the mobility of getting in and out of the car and cockpit setup that is an issue.

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