If ByKolles starts Saturday’s 88th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the plucky Austrian-flagged outfit will achieve a rather important milestone – it will have started more races in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s top division than Porsche.
That’s right: the Porsche 919 Hybrid in its four-year LMP1 tenure started 34 WEC races, which incidentally is the same number of starts accrued by the rather less successful ENSO CLM P1/01 since it first came on to the scene all the way back in 2014.
It’s hard to think of many sportscar racing designs in the modern era that have endured as long, certainly in the top class. Even the all-conquering Audi R8 only managed five years of active service at Le Mans before being replaced, one less than the venerable CLM will have completed before making way for a new ByKolles hypercar next year.
The current version of the ENSO CLM, which underwent further revisions last winter ahead of its two farewell races, has changed considerably since it was first unveiled to the public at Le Mans six years ago carrying the Lotus brand name and a distinctive black-and-gold livery.
“Now the car doesn’t really share any similarity to the first car I drove [in 2016], although in all those years it’s never had one really significant change,” says Oliver Webb, who…