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ByKolles Eyeing Expanded Effort with Updated CLM P1/01

ByKolles evaluating expansion to two cars, new updates for 2016…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

ByKolles Racing could expand into a two-car operation in the FIA World Endurance Championship, with the Austrian squad set to return with at least one heavily updated CLM P1/01 AER next year.

The LMP1 Privateer squad, which collected class wins at the Nürburgring and Circuit of The Americas this year, is evaluating its 2016 options, according to ByKolles Director of Operations, Boris Bermes.

“There are positive and negative things,” Bermes told Sportscar365 about expanding to two cars. “If you develop with one car, it’s much more easier. But of course two cars have an advantage. I would say for now it’s open.

“For now we’re focused on this [one] car and these drivers to get ahead for next year and get closer to the manufacturers.”

The German-built prototype has made continued strides, with numerous update packages having been rolled out since its debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014.

Bermes said their biggest evolution will come next year, with the CLM P1/01 set to feature an all-new look, although remaining with the same tub design and engine package.

“We have several updates we’ll get over the winter for next season to make the next step,” he said. “We made a good step in reliability but now we have to go the next step in performance.

“I think there’s a lot of potential in the car because not all of the things are [perfect] so there’s a big potential to improve.

“We are on a lower side on the downforce, so we can easily make big steps. There will be bigger changes.

“The basic things like chassis and drivetrain will be more-or-less the same because we changed for this year and we made good steps. But all of the bodywork around has quite some potential to improve.”

Bermes, meanwhile, has noted the strengths of the AER engine, which it debuted last year, and rival Rebellion Racing has since switched to for 2015.

“We have proven the engine, we have developed the engine with AER,” he said. “It seems like it’s now the better choice because the other team changed as well.

“Unfortunately this year, AER has had quite a lot of issues, which we didn’t have last year. But I’m sure they’ll turn the corner for next year and these issues will be sorted.”

While having struggled for entries, Bermes is upbeat on the future of the P1 Privateer class, which he feels could be the ultimate landing spot for up-and-coming open wheel talent.

GP2 series ace Simon Trummer has shown promise in the ByKolles entry alongside veteran Pierre Kaffer, with the team looking to welcome further rising stars to the WEC paddock.

“For me, the class has potential because there’s many good young drivers,” Bermes said. “We have Simon here, and Lucas Auer, who did a very good job last year.

“There’s these GP2/World Series/Formula 3 drivers and they don’t want to drive in LMP2 with the gentlemen drivers.

“For them, they want a car that’s better than a P2 car and they want to run with professionals to show to manufacturers and sponsors they are in a top structure.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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