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Munich. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team is all set for the next classic in the 2021 FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC). The 24-hour Bol d’Or on 18th/19th September at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet (FRA) is round three of the 2021 FIM EWC season. Alternating in the saddle of the #37 BMW M 1000 RR will once again be Markus Reiterberger (GER), Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) and Xavi Forés (ESP). Kenny Foray (FRA) is also in Le Castellet as the team’s fourth rider.
In preparation for the famous endurance race, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team attended a two-day test in Le Castellet last week. The team, led by team principal Werner Daemen, and the four riders fine-tuned the set-up of the #37 M RR, ready to take on the challenges of the 24-hour race. The test was a successful one and the team set the fastest time on both days – with a new lap record on each occasion. On Tuesday, Mikhalchik topped the standings with a new record of 1:53.261 minutes on the #37 bike. Reiterberger then went even faster on the Wednesday, setting a new record of 1:52.484 minutes.
The last time the Bol d’Or took place, in September 2019, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team was making its debut in the FIM EWC. Back then the team finished third with the #37 BMW S 1000 RR to claim a spot on the podium at the first attempt. The team has also finished third on the new #37 BMW M 1000 RR in each of the two races that have been held so far in the 2021 season – the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) and the 12 Hours of Estoril (POR). The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team lies third in the world championship with 80 points, seven less than the leaders. The race weekend in Le Castellet kicks off on Wednesday 15th September with scrutineering. This is followed on Thursday 16th September by the first practice and qualifying sessions. On Tuesday 14th September, another private test day will be held.
As well as the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, the privateer BMW teams Tecmas BMW 9 (#9 BMW S 1000 RR), Team univers racing/ACRacing #23 (#23 BMW S 1000 RR) and LRP Poland (#90 BMW S 1000 RR) also compete in the Bol d’Or.
Quotes ahead of the Bol d’Or.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “The Bol d’Or is one of the biggest classics in motorcycle racing. Our debut in the FIM EWC in Le Castellet two years ago was unforgettable. Finishing on the podium at the first attempt was very special. Since then, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team has proven that this success was no flash in the pan. It has established itself among the world’s elite, first with the BMW S 1000 RR and now with the BMW M 1000 RR. Last week’s test was very promising and gives us momentum ahead of the race weekend. However, we know that nothing is guaranteed in an endurance race, and that is particularly true of 24-hour races. Our goal is to impress with a strong performance at the Bol d’Or. The ingredients are there to achieve that: a superbly coordinated and experienced team, an extremely competitive motorbike, and strong, fast and experienced riders. We are well equipped to face the challenges of the Bol d’Or. If everything goes to plan in the race, we can continue the success story of the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team.”
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “The test last week was really good. We still had some small issues, but this is normal. The team found a good set-up; we have been the fastest on both days, we broke the lap record on both days, and this with two different riders, which is also important. All four riders did a very good job. Kenny, of course, who knows the track very well, and then Xavi, who was there for the first time, was really fast and showed his potential with good lap times. Also Ilya and Markus were fast as always and concentrated. I think we are well prepared for the race. Of course, a 24-hour race is a 24-hour race, but we are confident we can show another strong performance at this year’s Bol d’Or.”
Markus Reiterberger: “On the first day of the test I first had to refamiliarise myself with the circuit, as the last time I was here was back in 2015 and there have been a few changes since then. However, I adapted really quickly and set the second fastest time behind my team-mate Ilya, who set a new record. We had good pace, but still tried out a few things on the bike. On the second day I was really happy with my race pace and the long runs. I was super quick and consistent. At the end of day two I also set a new record. To have ridden the fastest lap ever on a motorcycle in Le Castellet is very cool. However, what is far more important is the race pace, and we are excellently positioned with our bike in that sense. We will now fine-tune our package a bit between now and the race. Our goal for the race is to win. The podium is the least we are aiming for, victory would be fantastic. We have the package to achieve it, the team will do a superb job of preparing the bike, and we are really well positioned with our trio of riders and our fast fourth rider. I am looking forward to the Bol d’Or.”
Ilya Mikhalchik: “Last week we had a really positive test. We have been really fast and set two lap records. Our pace was very strong during the long stints. We also tried a few tyres for the race but also for the fast lap. I am confident that we are ready to fight for the top positions. Me personally, I tried a lot of things, especially on day two, and several settings on the bike. I had a very good feeling for the bike, and it worked very well on new as well as on used tyres. This is really important for the endurance race. I am very happy and looking forward to the race.”
Xavi Forés: “It was a very positive test for me. I was there only for one day, as I had to go back to the UK for the British Superbike Championship. It was an amazing day for me as I could learn the layout of the track as I had never been there before. I really enjoyed riding there; I was fast and consistent as well on my laps. I did a long stint trying to stay focused on the race pace and I think we did quite well. So I am looking forward to the race. It is going to be a very important race for us because we are fighting for the championship. It will be a very long race. We have to stay very focused and make no mistakes. If we can do that, I think we have the pace and are strong enough to fight for the victory. I can’t wait to start and see what the race weekend brings.”
Kenny Foray: “It was a really good test for us. The race pace of the bike was great for all of us four riders. This is good for the race. Of course, you can never know what happens in the race because it goes over 24 hours, but I think that we are ready.”