The privateer teams in LMP1 have never had it simple. Sitting in the classes between the factory prepared hybrid cars and the LMP2 cars, there is a small section for the private LMP1 cars. Earlier in the year a small entry became smaller when Rebellion Racing confirmed that they would miss the first two races of the season due to a change in engine supplier. This meant that the ByKolles team would be fielding the only privately entered LMP1 car on the grid for the first two races. It was immediately assumed that the Austrian team would therefore gain a 2 race head start in the points championship, but a string of DNF’s has meant that the team have not benefited from competing in the opening two races.
To arrive at Le Mans with a margin of 50 World Championship points would have been one massive leap forward to the team taking the title come November, and it was defiantly the plan for the ByKolles team. However it has not gone to plan.The season opener at Silverstone was a struggle from start to finish. The car was off the pace in practice and qualifying and then was forced into the pits just minutes into the 6 hour race due to an early incident. In total the AER powered car spent more time in the garage than it did out on track at Silverstone. The car was eventually retired from the event after the list of problems got to long for the team to fix.
At last weekend’s 6 Hour race at Spa-Francorchamps the weekend started in a much different light. After a complete overhaul of gearboxes, suspension and aerodynamics, the lap times looked strong for the first time. In the end the ByKolles car managed to assume it’s predicted position ahead of the LMP2 field. After a strong start, the car then made it’s way to the pit lane. After repairs the CLM was once again found a long way down the order. After continued problems with the car the team decided to retire the car, just 46 laps into the 6 hours.
The next round of the World Endurance Championship will see ByKolles come up against a fellow privateer LMP1 effort for the first time. With the realistic target of competing with the returning Rebellion Racing car, the Austrain team will for the first time have competitor. As the next round is the 24 Hours of Le Mans, double points are on offer, so a win for ByKolles would provide them straight out with the 50 points that have already gone begging this season. However beating Rebellion is easier said than done. The Swiss team managed third overall in 2012 and have much more experience at Le Mans than the ByKolles team, that will be making their debut at La Sarthe next month.
Only time will tell if Rebellion will be back stinger than ever, or if ByKolles will have bounced back from the early disappointments of 2015.
Picture: WEC-Magazin (Walter Schruff)