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Webb Supports ByKolles’ Curtailed Year to be “Ahead of the Game” in 2018

Oliver Webb supports Kolles decision to withdraw post-Nürburgring…

Photo: John Dagys

ByKolles LMP1 driver Oliver Webb would support team owner Colin Kolles if he decides to withdraw the team from the second half of the FIA World Endurance Championship season in order to focus on planning for 2018.

The German squad is currently the sole privateer team in LMP1 following Rebellion’s decision to move to LMP2, but is set to be joined by additional outfits next year thanks to a number of new customer chassis on offer to teams.

As a result, Kolles is likely to forgo the North American and Asian rounds and end its season following next month’s Six Hours of Nürburgring, a move Webb has given his support to.

“I know that’s not set in stone yet, but developing the car for next year when there’s a couple of those Perrinn cars, a couple of SMP Dallaras, a couple of Ginettas,” Webb told Sportscar365.

“It might end up being the equal biggest class in the field, which is a big change from this year obviously.

“It’ll be nice to hold some silverware. At Spa there was all this confusion, because it was like: ‘Oh, we have trophies for you, but there’s no-one else in the class. Here are the caps. Do you want to go on the podium?’

“We felt like we earned [recognition] at Spa, but obviously standing on a podium with no-one underneath is a bit strange, so we left that.

“To have some silverware next year and maybe be ahead of the game would be great.

“As a driver it kills me to say [withdraw] as I want to do the second half of the year so badly. But I know I’d be sacrificing a good result next year if I persuaded them to do it, not that anything I say would make a difference.

“Let’s hope an LMP2 seat jumps out and maybe I can do the second half of the year with someone else.”

Webb said that part of the challenge for ByKolles came down to logistics, making it highly unlikely that the team will feature in the final trio of flyaway races in Japan, China and Bahrain as a minimum.

“I think he’s definitely set on missing the Asia races and Bahrain,” Webb said. “I don’t know how much of a chance maybe we could do the U.S. stuff. It’s all about how quickly we get the car back.

“The WEC does a great job on logistics, but Bahrain is such a late race and no matter how quick, whether you fly or ship it or whatever, you’re not going to get it back until December.

“That basically gives you four weeks to build a brand new car from scratch, which is impossible.

“I’d say 99 percent we’re not doing the last three.”

Luke Smith is a British motorsport journalist who has served as NBC Sports’ lead Formula 1 writer since 2013, as well as working on its online sports car coverage.


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