ByKolles is “ready to fight” for top honors in the FIA World Endurance Championship, according to team principal Manfredi Ravetto, who is bullish on the season ahead in the revitalized LMP1 class.
The German squad, which has been the only LMP1 privateer to have completed races in every season since 2014, sees an influx of competition for the 2018-19 ‘Super Season’, with new cars from BR Engineering, ORECA and Ginetta and a flurry of teams stepping up to the top prototype category.
It’s resulted in a ten-car class for next weekend’s season-opening Six Hours of Spa, with five privateer teams set to take on the mights of Toyota, all with new or updated machinery.
Ravetto, who has joined the team this year following stints in several other Colin Kolles-led projects, believes the high level of pre-season preparation and developments to its ENSO CLM P1/01 NISMO will pay dividends.
“The team worked very hard over the last months and all I can say is that we are ready to fight,” he said.
“Our challenging spirit [is] being boosted by the fact that we are the only non-hybrid LMP1 team which designs, develops and runs its own car.
“We respect our competitors but today none of them is giving us a sleepless night.”
The updated car, featuring aero and mechanical developments, has completed significant mileage since the team’s decision to curtail its 2017 season mid-year to focus on 2018-19.
Its included private testing throughout Europe while evaluating nearly a dozen drivers.
After showing improved pace and racking up more than 800 miles in the Prologue at Paul Ricard earlier this month, the most by far of any LMP1 competitor, the team completed its final pre-season test at Monza on Thursday.
Newly confirmed drivers Dominik Kraihamer and Tom Dillmann were joined by Oliver Webb and Rene Binder, where the team worked to finalize its 2018 aero package.
“We had another satisfying day with good reliability and significant amount of data gathered. We will evaluate them over the coming couple of days and we will be ready for the challenge ahead of us,” said head of race/test operations, Boris Bermes.
“Every single new component has been working properly from day one and focusing on development already by September of last year has proven to be the right call.”
Ex-Caterham F1 boss Ravetto, meanwhile, believes LMP1 is the place to be in global motorsport.
The team revealed plans to expand into a two-car operation post-Le Mans, and is understood to be in the process of finalizing drivers.
“Our obvious target is delivering a significant step up compared to the past but honestly, we are rising our game,” Ravetto said.
“We are proud of being [a] manufacturer in LMP1, which is the ideal stage for our constantly growing structure, and we are grateful to ACO and FIA for organizing and promoting such a championship, nowadays second to none in the world.”