As part of its preparations for a possible attack on the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2023, ByKolles has finished the roll-out of its Vanwall Le Mans Hypercar.
Christophe Bouchut, winner of the 1993 Le Mans 24 Hours and a former ByKolles driver, drove the Vanwall Vandervell LMH at an unnamed airport in Germany on March 31, just days after the Colin Kolles-led team unveiled the first photographs of their Gibson-powered hypercar.
On-track testing will commence in April, most likely at the Most circuit in the Czech Republic, with ByKolles test drivers Tom Dillmann and Esteban Guerrieri taking over as drivers.
ByKolles had planned to return to the WEC in 2022, but the selection committee rejected down its one-car entry in the Hypercar class in January.
ByKolles’ failure to gain a spot on the crowded 2022 WEC grid was never explained, with team president Kolles simply stating that his team will be ready to race next year if it “receives a welcome.”
The team would have skipped the inaugural round at Sebring and joined the championship from May’s Spa race onwards if it had gained an entry for the 2022 season with Toyota’s pair of Le Mans hypercars, Peugeot’s new LMH rival expected for Monza, and Glickenhaus’ identical non-hybrid car.
Since the rebirth of the WEC in 2012, ByKolles had been a regular competitor, first in the LMP2 class and then in the flagship LMP1 class with the self-built CLM P1/01.
Despite a number of modifications and engine changes, the car remained unstable for the majority of its time in the series, failing to achieve a classified finish at Le Mans before being withdrawn following the WEC’s move to LMH rules after the 2020 edition of the French classic.
ByKolles currently hopes to return to the WEC next year after acquiring the naming rights of the Vanwall team, which competed in Formula 1 from 1954 through 1960 and won the inaugural constructors’ championship in 1958.
The team’s car is named after Vanwall boss Tony Vandervell and was designed wholly in-house at the team’s headquarters in Germany.
The inclusion of a ByKolles car to the WEC’s expanding Hypercar class, which is already set to receive LMH cars from Ferrari, as well as LMDh rivals from Porsche and Cadillac, next year, would be a welcome addition.
Acura and BMW have confirmed plans to produce LMDh cars in 2023, but their primary focus will likely be on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with possible Le Mans entrants thrown in for good measure.