So it turns out Robert Kubica is still rather bloody good. The ex-Formula 1 driver got his first taste of an LMP1 yesterday during the World Endurance Championship’s Rookie Test in Bahrain and the Pole was impressive, really impressive.
Kubica drove the ByKolles CLM P1/01 AER, which races in the LMP1 privateer class of the WEC, and set a best time of 1:47.222 during the Afternoon Session. ‘Is that good?’ I hear you asking.
Well, it was massively quicker than the other guy who drove the ByKolles during that session, with IndyCar driver Francesco Dracone setting a time of 1:52.993. Perhaps most impressive though was the Pole’s lap was faster than that of Pierre Kaffer, someone who’s been driving for ByKolles all year in the World Endurance Championship.
After a successful day driving an LMP1 car, it comes as no surprise that Kubica is now eyeing a future in the World Endurance Championship.
“Of course LMP1 doesn’t need to be introduced. All motorsport fans know about LMP1, it’s kind of Formula 1 with covered wheels,” he said. “The races are high-level races. It’s not that you go chill out and you do 12 hours, 24 hours cruising – you have to push.
“Because it’s something new, I’m not 100 percent sure I will like it, but on the other hand every new challenge gives you some extra motivation to try them to see if you can do it well.
“But for sure if I would decide to do it, it’s because I want to do it, not because I don’t have anything else to do. I came here just to see, to get rid of some doubts I have.”
Kubica still has limited mobility in his right arm due to his horrific rally crash that ended his F1 career back in 2011, but he still believes he’d be able to compete in endurance racing.
“It was not easy and I would prefer to have a proper seat-fitting in a factory before driving,” he added.
“Fortunately it worked out pretty well and I was quite comfortable in the car, not 100 percent, but I could drive still. We used it as kind of a rollout, checking if I can fit in the car and it was okay.
“For sure because of my limitations, endurance races are quite difficult because there are driver changes which you have to do as fast as possible. You cannot build up your cockpit around yourself.”
With Kubica unlikely to ever race in Formula 1 again, I’m sure you’ll agree that racing in the top-class at Le Mans is probably the next best thing.