Villeneuve puts Vanwall LMH through its paces

Jacques Villeneuve was back behind the wheel of a racing car this week, a machine bearing the name of a famous F1 team from the 1950s: Vanwall!

German sportscar outfit ByKolles has revived the Vanwall legacy, rolling out earlier this year a Le Mans Hypercar that it ambitions to enter in the World Endurance Championship from 2023.

Villeneuve was one of four drivers that put the 4.5-liter Gibson V8 engine powered car through its paces during a two-day test in Barcelona along with Tom Dillmann, Esteban Guerrieri, and Super GT class champion Joao Paulo de Oliveira.

Villeneuve's presence at the test was about gauging the 51-year-old Canadian's enthusiasm for the ByKolles' LMH project that aims to take part in the WEC and tackle Le Mans, an event that the 1997 F1 world champion has never won.

"The intention of Jacques is very clear: it’s a very high target, but the intention is to win Le Mans," said ByKolels team owner Colin Kolles.

"This was the purpose of the exercise, to see if he enjoys it. And then, further steps have to be discussed and a lot of testing has to be done.

"If you haven’t run in a downforce car for many years, you have to get used to it again.

"The purpose was not to have a shootout between drivers. The purpose of the exercise was to see if he enjoys it."

Testing of the machine will continue as ByKolles works towards its target of homologating the Vanwall Vandervell LMH for use in the WEC next season.

"We are trying to have the best possible spec because you are not allowed to re-homologate," said Kolles.

"We are trying now to have everything ready for the homologation. The car is ready but we’re trying to optimize it for the best possible level."