ByKolles will expand into a two-car LMP1 operation in the FIA World Endurance Championship following the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the Austrian-flagged team planning a second ENSO CLM P1/01 NISMO for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.
Team principal Manfredi Ravetto has revealed plans to field the second car for a yet-to-be-confirmed driver lineup beginning with the third round at Silverstone and stretching through the completion of the ‘Super Season’ at Le Mans in 2019.
The entry, however, would be subject to approval by the ACO Selection Committee for Le Mans.
“After Le Mans [this year] we will race the second car,” Ravetto told Sportscar365. “The more guys we have around us, the better it is and the more choices we have.”
ByKolles has tested close to a dozen drivers during an extensive development program in recent months with its LMP1 contender, which has received significant aero and engine upgrades for 2018.
It’s included Marco Bonanomi, Tom Dillmann, Rene Binder, Paolo Ruberti, Ling Kang, Edoardo Liberati, Mikael Grenier, along with team regulars Oliver Webb, Dominik Kraihamer, James Rossiter and Pierre Kaffer.
Bonanomi, Dillmann, Binder, Kang, Webb and Kraihamer are all taking part in this weekend’s Prologue pre-season test at Paul Ricard in a single CLM.
“All the guys we tested have some sort of priority,” Ravetto explained. “We’re not going to race the drivers we didn’t test.
“We still have a quite significant and intensive testing program to do.”
Ravetto said he expects to finalize the lineup for the team’s full-season entry within the next two weeks, with Webb so far the only confirmed driver.
LMP1 the “Right Place to Be”
The former Caterham F1 team boss, who has joined the Colin Kolles-owned squad this year, believes the influx of LMP1 entries has made the revived prototype class the place to be.
ByKolles has returned to full-time competition after a four-race campaign in 2017 as the only LMP1 privateer entry.
The class has since grown to eight LMP1 non-hybrids, which alongside the two Toyota TS050 Hybrids, could now see an 11-car entry post-Le Mans.
“We personally believe it’s the right moment and right place to be, in WEC LMP1,” Ravetto said.
“It can turn into a very, very nice and popular championship. These cars are really fantastic; you have more cars, more drivers, more teams. This is what the fans love.”