ByKolles Racing - Continuously Searching for Success
ByKolles Racing is a German racing team, based in Greding, Bavaria and founded in 2000, which recently competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship as one of only two private teams in the top-class LMP1 category.
The team entered FIA WEC in the inaugural season of revived championship in 2012, together with Lotus in LMP2 class, switching to LMP1 in 2014. Prior to endurance racing, Kolles Racing, also known as Kodewa, competed in German Formula 3, Formula 3 Euro Series and DTM.
Romulus and Colin Kolles founded a team in 2000
The team and the company which stands behind (Kodewa GmbH &Co) were founded in 2000 by Romulus Kolles and his son Colin Kolles. The first competition was the German Formula 3 Championship.
The team fielded two Dallara F300 chassis powered by Mugen-Honda engine. Four drivers changed in the cockpits of two cars, with Elran Nijenhuis being best-placed at the end of the season, in the 18th place with one podium.
Pierre Kaffer scored four Formula 3 wins
In 2001, Kimmo Liimatainen and Pierre Kaffer were full-time drivers. Kaffer scored first win for the team in the second round at Nurburgring, adding three more wins later in the season to finish fourth in the points. In 2002, four drivers were sharing two Kolles Racing’s cars but without wins and podiums. The best in the final classification was Joao Paulo de Oliveira in 12th place.
No wins and podiums in the Formula 3 Euro Series
In 2003, Kolles Racing moved its operations into the newly-formed Formula 3 Euro Series, fielding two Mercedes-powered cars for Charles Zwolsman Jr and Jan Heylen. For the last three rounds, Heylen was replaced by Jamie Green. In 2004, Adrian Sutil and Tom Kimber-Smith joined Kolles Racing but the team was still without wins and podiums.
At the start of the 2005 season, Colin left the team to become director of the Jordan Grand Prix Formula One team. With Colin away, the team left Formula 3 competition and then entered DTM in 2006 season, as one of Audi teams.
2006 – Team Kolles entered DTM with Audi
Under the sponsorship name Futurecom TME, the team was running two older version of Audi A4 DTM. Vanina Ickx was driving the #20 Audi for the full season, while four drivers competed with #19 Audi. Olivier Tielemans started a season, after three events Jeroen Bleekemolen stepped in but he was replaced by Nicolas Kiesa after two events because of some issues with sponsors. Kiesa participated in three rounds and then he was injured in a motocross accident, so Thed Bjork joined the team for the last two rounds. No one of five drivers didn’t score any point.
Vanina Ickx was the full-time driver again in 2007, driving the #21 Audi. In the #20 car, Adam Carroll competed in five rounds, being replaced by Markus Winkelhock for the second part of the season. The team scored no points again.
Zero points in four DTM seasons
In the 2008 DTM season, Kolles Racing/Futurecom TME had a female driver again, with Katherine Legge in the #20 Audi. Christijan Albers was driving the #21 car. Both drivers scored no points and the team was the last (10th) in the teams’ classification.
In the 2009 DTM season, which was the last for the team, Kolles Futurecom had three rookies in three cars: Christian Bakkerud, Johannes Seidlitz and Tomaš Kostka. Rookies didn’t manage to collect any point for the team, so Kolles Racing left the DTM after four seasons with zero points on its account.
Running Audi R10 TDI prototypes in the Le Mans Series
Besides DTM, Kolles &Heinz Union participated in the 2009 Formula 3 Euro Series with five cars, but without notable results, not scoring points. The season 2009 was also marked by Kolles Racing’s debut in the sports car racing, as a customer team with two Audi R10 TDI prototypes in the Le Mans Series.
The #14 team finished seventh in the final standings while the #15 crew finished in 10th place. Kolles Racing’s drivers in its first season of prototype racing were Charles Zwolsman Jr., Andy Meyrick, Michael Krumm, Christian Bakkerud, Christijan Albers, Narain Karthikeyan, Giorgio Mondini.
Seventh place at Le Mans 24h debut in 2009
In June 2009, Kolles Racing debuted at 24 hours of Le Mans, with only two drivers in the #14 Audi R10 TDI. Narain Karthikeyan dislocated his shoulder going over the pit wall before the race, leaving Charles Zwolsman Jr. and Andre Lotterer to compete as a two-driver team. They finished 7th overall.
Kolles Racing returned to Le Mans a year later, fielding two Audi R10 TDIs. Christian Bakkerud, Oliver Jarvis and Christijan Albers retired after 331 laps with #15 car. Scott Tucker, Manuel Rodrigues and Christophe Bouchut made 182 laps around Circuit de la Sarthe before their #14 car stopped.
Operational base for HRT F1 team
In 2010, Kodewa’s workshop in Greding was serving as an operational base for HRT F1 team, in which Colin Kolles was a team principal. During that period, until the end of 2011, Kolles Racing skipped all competitions except 2010 Le Mans race.
Cooperation with Lotus for the 2012 FIA WEC season
Colin Kolles was released from HRT before 2012 Formula 1 season. After that, Kolles Racing returned to the endurance racing, cooperating with Lotus Cars and entering the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship with two Lola B12/80-Judd prototypes in the LMP2 class. The #31 car was the full-season entry while the #32 participated in selected races, but not at 24h Le Mans.
Lotus drivers at 2012 Le Mans were Thomas Holzer, Mirco Schultis and Luca Moro. They retired after 155 laps. Other drivers during the year were Kevin Weeda, James Rossiter, Renger van der Zande, Christijan Albers, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Jan Charouz. Not scoring any podium, the team finished 8th in the standings among eight teams.
Single podium in the 2013 FIA WEC season
In the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship, both Lotus T128 prototypes were the full-time entries in the LMP2 class. Eight drivers circulated through #31 and #32 cars: Kevin Weeda, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Christophe Bouchut, James Rossiter, Lucas Auer, Thomas Holzer, Dominik Kraihamer and Jan Charouz.
The #32 car scored one podium, finishing third at Circuit of the Americas. At the end of the season, the #32 was 7th in the championship standings.
2014 – tough year with self-built LMP1 prototype
For the 2014 FIA WEC season, Lotus and Kolles Racing prepared their own LMP1 prototype, named Lotus CLM P1/01 and powered by 2.4-litre V6 AER engine. The original plan was to use Audi’s 4.0 V8 engine but the plan failed, so the car didn’t skip first three rounds of the championship.
The car made its public debut at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans but without running on the track. The competitive debut followed in the next round, the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas. The #9 car was driven by Christophe Bouchut, Lucas Auer and James Rossiter. At the following race in Fuji, the car burst into flames after 181 laps. The driver at the time, Christophe Bouchut, escaped without injury but left the team after the race.
The P1/01 claimed one more finish at the following event in Shanghai, but was unable to finish at Bahrain or Sao Paulo. Over the season, other drivers were Pierre Kaffer, Simon Trummer and Nathanael Berthon.
Rebranding to ByKolles Racing in 2015
Kolles lost Lotus backing in 2015 and the team was rebranded to ByKolles Racing, registered as the Austrian team. The team continued to run improved CLM P1/01 prototype. The revised #4 car made its debut in March, during the official FIA WEC test at Paul Ricard circuit. The P1/01 claimed its first two wins in the Privateer class, at Nurburgring and COTA, beating Rebellion Racing as the only rival team. At 2015 Le Mans race, the car was excluded from the results because of incorrect driver weight ballast.
Reliability issues for revised CLM P1/01
For the 2016 FIA WEC season, ByKolles Racing radically changed a bodywork of CLM P1/01, in order to improve the aerodynamics of the car. The gearbox was also upgraded from a 6-speed to a 7-speed layout. However, the #4 CLM P1/01 continued to struggle with reliability issues, culminating in fires at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Nürburgring.
The Rebellion Racing was again only rival team among LMP1 privateers, withdrawing one of their two cars from the championship after Nürburgring, leaving only two cars in the class. In a duel of two teams, ByKolles Racing claimed only win at 6 Hours of Shanghai. ByKolles Racing’s drivers in 2016 were Simon Trummer, Oliver Webb, Pierre Kaffer and James Rossiter.
New engine for the 2017 FIA WEC season
For the 2017 FIA WEC season, ByKolles Racing decided to upgrade CLM P1/01 with a new engine, replacing AER with Nismo 3.0 V6 engine. The aerodynamics package will also undergo significant changes.