Section: Le Mans

WEC: ByKolles Racing announces revised CLM P1 to compete in WEC, Le Mans

The car will also be put to the ultimate test at Le Mans in June.

ByKOLLES Racing, is pleased to announce its entry application in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship including the legendary 24 hours of Le Mans in LMP 1 with
the newly developed 2015 CLM P1.

The team’s endurance division has been competing in motorsport for over 14 years and has a wealth of experience and knowledge gained from successful participation in WEC, F1, DTM and other formula series.

With a new gear box, new front and rear suspension, aerodynamic modifications and performance upgrades throughout, including significant weight reductions, the team
have made real progress on the CLM P1.

A learning process

Commenting on the season ahead, ByKOLLES Director of Operations, Boris Bermes said: “We learnt a lot last year, we faced many challenges but we made very good progress against the odds however we were aware that significant improvements
needed to be made for the 2015 season. The team has worked hard since the end of least season to produce, what I believe to be a highly competitive car. As always, I’m cautiously optimistic about this year but let’s see what testing brings.”


F1: Honda vetoed Alonso’s 2015 Le Mans plans

Honda scuppered Fernando Alonso’s plans to drive for Porsche in the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours “at the last second”, according to German media.

Alonso’s future was the subject of much intrigue last year, with a sabbatical in sports cars mooted as a possibility before his move to McLaren-Honda was confirmed in December. But, according to German website Auto Motor und Sport, the Spaniard retained an interest in racing in Le Mans and hoped to secure a joint deal which would have allowed him to compete alongside his F1 duties, only for Honda to veto the deal at the eleventh hour.

A deal would have seen Alonso drive alongside Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, who will combine F1 duties with Le Mans and another World Endurance Championship event, in one of Porche’s three-man teams. The 2015 edition of the famous race takes place on June 13-14, the weekend races in Canada and Austria.

Once Alonso was out of the running Porsche reportedly turned its attentions to German driver Adrian Sutil, who was acrimoniously dropped by Sauber last year. But it appears contractual issues stemming from his time at the Swiss team have prevented him from signing.

Read more at ESPN

Le Mans: Alonso won’t be able to combine F1 and Le Mans in 2015

There are some contractual complications with McLaren and Honda on Fernando’s way to Le Mans.

Fernando Alonso is unlikely to be able to squeeze the Le Mans 24 Hours into his 2015 schedule, despite trying hard to convince McLaren to allow him to do the race.

Alonso attended this year’s 24 Hours and the recent Bahrain WEC event, and encouraged by friend Mark Webber he has been actively trying to find a seat – with Porsche his main target. The former World Champion was attracted by the idea of being the first F1 superstar in decades to try to fit the race into his regular schedule.

Nico Hulkenberg has been able to agree such an arrangement with Force India, but unsurprisingly for Alonso there are added contractual complications with McLaren and Honda.

While the Japanese manufacturer is perhaps less concerned about its star driver appearing for Porsche, as opposed to a direct market rival such as Toyota, Nissan or Audi, McLaren’s own status as a supercar maker has complicated matters. There are also questions over clashes of partners such as Pirelli and Michelin.


Le Mans: Alonso to join Hulkenberg at Le Mans – reports

Fernando Alonso could follow Nico Hulkenberg’s lead in splitting his F1 duties with a sensational debut at the fabled Le Mans 24 hours next year.

Last week, the sports car prototype manufacturer Porsche announced it has signed Force India’s Hulkenberg to race not only at Le Mans next June but also the Spa six hours.

It was said Hulkenberg would drive a third three-driver Porsche prototype in 2015. His teammates for the Le Mans entry were not announced.

This year, Porsche returned to prototype Le Mans competition with Mark Webber leading one of the two 919 Hybrid cars.

Now, Italy’s Autosprint is reporting that with Alonso now close to having his full-time F1 seat with McLaren finally announced, it could be followed by a shock round of extra news.

A complement
The publication cited sources close to the German marque as saying Spaniard Alonso, who famously officially started this year’s edition of the Le Mans 24 hours, could also sign up with Porsche for 2015.

“Porsche would not be an alternative to McLaren-Honda for Alonso,” agreed Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo, “but a complement.”

The report said Alonso would join Hulkenberg in the third Porsche entry, along with another unknown driver.

“Despite their friendship,” El Mundo Deportivo added, “Fernando would not race in the same car as Mark Webber.”

The report said the biggest stumbling block to a Le Mans deal for Alonso is the fact that McLaren is a direct sports car-making rival of Porsche.


F1: Hulkenberg to drive at 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours

Nico Hulkenberg will compete at the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours for Porsche alongside his Formula One commitments with Force India.

The 2015 event will take place on June 13/14, the weekend before the Austrian Grand Prix. Hulkenberg will drive the team’s third LMP1 Porsche 919 entry and will also be fielded in May’s Spa round of the World Endurance Championship in preparation.

Hulkenberg has been given special permission to drive at the event by Force India and he said it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

“Porsche and Le Mans – this combination probably attracts every race driver,” said Hulkenberg. “I’ve been a Porsche fan for a long time and have been watching their return to the LMP1 class closely. The desire grew to drive that car at Le Mans. I am very pleased the 2015 Formula One calendar allows for it and I’m grateful to my Sahara Force India’s generosity to let me go for it. Now it’s up to me to work hard to satisfy both commitments.”

Ex-F1 driver Mark Webber is already signed up in one of Porsche’s two full-time WEC seats. The team is yet to announce the other two drivers who will partner Hulkenberg in his car.

Hulkenberg and Porsche both tweeted following the announcement.


Read more at ESPN

Le Mans: Nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen retires from motor racing

Tom Kristensen, the 47-year old Audi driver made the announcement today at a press conference in Copenhagen.

With his decision, the most successful sports car driver in history ends an impressive career, which includes several records, historic triumphs, a big crash and lots of accolade.

“I have reached the finish line. I have grown up. I have been told that you know when it’s time to stop. I have not had that feeling until now. Over the last couple of months, my thoughts of retiring have been stronger and therefore it feels right to inform you today that I am retiring from motor racing. After the last WEC race of the season next week it’s over. That gives me the opportunity to do other things in life going forward.

“For me today is a happy day. I am proud of my career, what I have achieved, and for the memories that I will have forever. I feel privileged to have worked with so many inspiring and talented people. I have driven with the best co-drivers on the best teams in the world. If I could do it all again, I would not change a single decision in my career.

I still feel I am in peak physical form and possess the necessary mental toughness both in and outside of the car. It has been important for me to stop while I am still strong and able to deliver top performances at Audi.

I have chosen to announce my retirement now in order to be able to say a proper goodbye to the sport I love so much at our last race in Sao Paolo in Brazil.

After my accident at Hockenheim in 2007, where the strong chassis saved my life, I have had even bigger focus on training. Over the past years I have felt that staying in peak physical condition and keeping my weight down have required more and more from my body. It is a very competitive and intense sport, which requires complete focus all the time. At the same time, I have had about 250 travel days a year and that naturally means much time away from my family.

After the 2013-season, which was the most successful season of my career, the regulations and the cars in the World Endurance Championship were changed substantially. It has been very motivating for me to play a role in the development of Audis new generation of sports cars, which took a 1-2 victory at Le Mans this year. That has been a main focus of 2014, where I feel I haven’t quite made any mistakes throughout the season. There are several younger drivers at Audi who now deserves to get the chance, just as I got my first chance in endurance racing at Le Mans back in 1997.

After almost 35 years in motorsport, about 25 of them as professional, there are incredibly many people that I owe my thanks. That also goes for my time in go-kart, to Formula 3 in Germany to my fantastic five years in Japan. Motorsport is a team sport. I cannot mention them all here today, but I can say a big and loud thank you to all the fans, who have supported me throughout my career at Le Mans and around the world. I have been incredibly proud and emotional every time I have seen a Danish flag sway in the wind, listen to crowd and felt the support. There is no better feeling for an athlete. For that I would like to say Thank You.”