Le Mans. Just a few weeks to go until the ‘24 Heures Motos’ on 17th/18th April at Le Mans (FRA) will see the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team start the 2021 season in the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC). Preparations entered their final stage this week with the two days of Pré-Mans testing. The team, with the #37 BMW M 1000 RR and riders Markus Reiterberger (GER), Xavi Forés (ESP), Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) and Kenny Foray (FRA), completed a comprehensive test schedule.
The BMW M 1000 RR is the new competition motorbike for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. The team has been working on development of the racing version specially for endurance events over the past weeks, in the workshop and on the track. At official Le Mans pre-testing on Tuesday and Wednesday, the team concentrated on fine-tuning the #37 bike to meet the specific challenges of the classic endurance race on the Sarthe. The pace was strong; the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team set the fastest time on both days including new lap records.
The 2021 season in the FIM EWC consists of five events. The 24-hour race at Le Mans is followed on 23rd May by the 8-hour race at Oschersleben (GER), the home race for BMW. The season continues on 17th July with the 12-hour race at Estoril, Portugal. The Bol d’Or 24-hour classic will take place on 18th/19th September at Le Castellet (FRA). Suzuka in Japan will host the 8-hour-race that represents the season finale on 7th November.
Reactions to testing at Le Mans.
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “The test was really good. For me, it was the best test since we started this project. It is a very young project and we are still a new team. We had some small issues but this always happens and is okay. One important thing was that we had a very good choice of tyres; Dunlop did a very good job. In combination with the suspension, we found a really good set-up for all four riders. Overall I think that we are really fast going into the race, but we have some work to do prepare all the small parts we have. I am very happy with this result and it provides of course some perspective for the race.”
Markus Reiterberger: “It has been a very positive test for us. We have tried several things on Tuesday that we implemented on both test bikes on Wednesday. Then on Wednesday morning, we made very good use of the high grip level in still cooler temperatures and all of us set extremely fast times with a race set-up. A 1:35.1 in race trim indeed is sporty fast, I would say. We managed to set some fantastic laps but it is not only the lap times that count. The pace is important, the pace of all riders, and it is very strong. We found a set-up that enables all riders to go a constant good pace. I want to thank the team for all the hard work. We are already pretty well prepared even if there is more work to do before the race, as always. I think that we can look forward to the 24-hour race at Le Mans with a very good feeling.”
Ilya Mikhalchik: “Overall, we are really happy. Our team set the lap record, all riders went the same speed. We are also happy with the race simulations. I did five of them and the pace was incredibly fast – one and a half second faster than the top riders are here normally. We only had a lot of traffic on the track with slower riders and as a result we could not use the full potential of the grip of new tyres for a fast lap. So all of us did their fast times in race simulations with used tyres. I think, overall we are ready and looking forward to the season.”
Xavi Forés: “It has been two productive days of testing for us, especially as it was the last test before the race and we were working on setting up the bike for all four riders to be on the same level lap by lap. I think we did a really good job on that. Overall, the two days were very good, because we had a nice pace and did really fast laps, breaking the lap record – especially on the second day on almost every single lap so I am really looking forward to the race. I hope the weather stays like we had it on this couple of days but I think we have a strong package even in cold conditions. Especially the tyres are working really well. The team worked really hard to give us the best possible package and we will now try to do our best at the race.”
Kenny Foray: “It has been two good days. I enjoyed riding the bike a lot and my team-mates have been incredible on the track. My feeling was very good at the end of the two days. I think the team is well prepared.”