Team boss Colin Kolles has revealed that the normally-aspirated 4.5-litre Gibson V8 that has powered the non-hybrid LMH during its maiden season in the WEC is being replaced for next year.
Kolles, whose German-based team formerly ran under the ByKolles banner, would not reveal the identity of the engine, though he did confirm it is a turbocharged unit and a known quantity.
“We can say that we are changing the engine for next season,” Kolles told Motorsport.com.
“It will be a turbo and is a proven engine with enough power and good reliability — it is not in any way an experiment.”
Kolles carried over the Gibson GL458 V8 to the Vandervell from the last iteration of his squad’s CLM P1/01 LMP1 car, which ran with an AER V6 twin-turbo from its debut in 2014 and then a Nissan engine of similar configuration in 2017 and all but the last two races 2018/19.
He stated that the Gibson engine has been unable to attain the maximum power level, measured at the wheels, allocated to the Vanwall in the Hypercar Balance of Performance.
“In the heat during the day in Bahrain we were 60kW (80bhp) down and when it got cooler at night the figure was 50kW [67hp],” said Kolles.
The Vanwall was allowed a maximum power of 520kW (697bhp) under the BoP over the final three races of the season, having previously run at 511kW and then 512kW.
Gibson Technologies declined to comment about its engine’s power output in the Vanwall.
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
#4 Floyd Vanwall Racing Team Vanwall Vandervell 680: Esteban Guerrieri, Tristan Vautier, João Paulo de Oliveira
The former ByKolles team returned to the WEC under the Vanwall banner this season after having its entry turned down for 2022.
Should Ferrari decide to field a satellite entry in conjunction with a customer, the Hypercar field is likely to be oversubscribed for 2024.
Asked if he is confident of retaining his place on the grid, Kolles replied: “We will see, but we comply with all the regulations”.
He insisted that the team has “built a very good chassis”, adding that “it is not an LMDh”, a reference to the next-generation LMP2 designs on which cars taking advantage of the alternative route into the Hypercar class must be built.
On the topic of of drivers for the car in 2024, he said: “I don’t think that will be a major problem”.
Esteban Guerrieri was the only driver to race the Vanwall in all seven races this year.
Jacques Villeneuve left the team and was replaced by Tristan Vautier after three races and Tom Dillmann departed after four events, with Joao Paulo de Oliveria and then Ryan Briscoe filling his seat.
The Vanwall developed in-house by Kolles’s operation scored its only points of 2023 with an eighth-place finish in Hypercar at the season-opening Sebring 1000 Miles in March.