Le Castellet. Things are getting serious for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. The fledgling project kicks off its debut season in the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC) with a 24-hour classic, the Bol d’Or at Le Castellet in the south of France. Kenny Foray (FRA), Julian Puffe (GER) and Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) will alternate on the #37 BMW S 1000 RR. Bastien Mackels (BEL) will be the reserve rider. The 83rd Bol d’Or gets underway at 15:00 on Saturday 21st September and finishes 24 hours later on Sunday afternoon.
The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team sees BMW Motorrad Motorsport expand its works commitment with the new BMW S 1000 RR to incorporate the FIM EWC. The #37 RR is based on the Superbike used in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) and features a number of modifications required for its outings in endurance racing. These include a larger tank, a rapid refuelling system, and quick-change systems for the wheels. The electronics have been adapted to meet the demands of the FIM EWC, while the engine is designed for durability and efficient fuel consumption. The start number, 37, is derived from Steven Casaer’s company EMC37, which has enjoyed success on the endurance circuit for many years. As Technical Coordinator of the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, Casaer will play a key role in any future success.
Two weeks ago, the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team attended the official Bol d’Or Pre-test at Le Castellet. Team Manger Werner Daemen’s outfit worked with the three riders to continue the development of the RR for the FIM EWC, and used the two test days to establish and coordinate procedures at the racetrack.
The Bol d’Or is one of the best-known and iconic 24-hour races in the world. As well as the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team’s new #37 BMW S 1000 RR, a further six RRs will be fielded by BMW customer teams.
Quotes ahead of the Bol d’Or at Le Castellet.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “After a short but very intense period of preparation, we cannot wait to kick off our first season in the FIM EWC with the Bol d’Or. Werner Daemen’s entire team, Dunlop and BMW Motorrad Motorsport have done an outstanding job in recent months to prepare the BMW S 1000 RR for the opening round. The new RR for the FIM EWC is still in the early stages of its development, and the team is very much a fledgling project. As such, our goal for the weekend is to use the Bol d’Or to optimise the bike under the extreme conditions faced in a 24-hour race. We know that anything can happen during a race that lasts twice around the clock, even with experienced and renowned FIM EWC teams. We want to finish the race and, in doing so, to gain as much experience as possible, which can then be used in future work. Our debut season is intended as a learning year, during which we aim to improve step by step.”
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “The waiting is finally over and the whole team is looking forward to the Bol d’Or. It is rather special when a classic like this forms the first race for a young project like ours. We will face many challenges, as it is still all new to us. However, we have made good progress during our preparations and are well equipped for the first race weekend with our new RR. Our three riders have shown at the test that they are already happy on the bike and can set fast times. However, we are not assuming that we will be able to claim top results from the word go. We are the new boys in the field, which means it will be a success if we come through without any major issues and see the chequered flag after 24 hours. It would obviously be great if we could also get a good result. We then want to continue our learning process in the subsequent races.”
Kenny Foray: “The Bol d’Or 24-hour race is a very special race for me. I am hoping for a good result. The bike is fantastic and the team is doing a superb job. Everyone is very professional. I believe we can also challenge for a good result. However, everything is new and we will need a little time to really understand and optimise the full package. I think we can gather a lot of data. The first test was very good, everything worked superbly and we worked well together. I am now excited to see what awaits us at the Bol d’Or.”
Julian Puffe : “The Bol d’Or will certainly be a big challenge for us all. We are a totally new team. The bike is brand new and we still don’t know how it will behave over the full 24 hours. It will all be a big test. I am mega motivated. As riders, all we can do is try our best and push as hard as possible for 24 hours. Then we will see what we come away with. However, with this package and the new team, I think a great result is possible.”
Ilya Mikhalchik: “I am really looking forward to our first race with the new team and to this new challenge. The test went very well. We are a good team and had good pace, although we were not yet at 100% during the test. We obviously want to get the best result possible. We will try to finish as far up the field as possible. The race is very important to us. My goal is to ride a good pace all weekend and to enjoy my outing on the factory bike.”