24h Le Mans: BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team kicks off the 2023 FIM EWC with the new BMW M 1000 RR.
Le Mans. The stage is set for the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC): next weekend (13th to 16th April), the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team will be starting the 2023 season with the new #37 BMW M 1000 RR. The opening event will once again be the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA). In terms of riders, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team around Team Manager Werner Daemen (BEL) is focusing on continuity. For the 2023 season, Markus Reiterberger (GER), Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) and Jérémy Guarnoni (FRA) will again be the regular racers on the #37 BMW M 1000 RR. Patrick Hobelsberger (GER) will support the team as the fourth rider at Le Mans.
For the latest generation of the BMW M 1000 RR, the aerodynamics have been reworked extensively, which has significantly increased aerodynamic efficiency. BMW Motorrad Motorsport has also been working intensively on durability over the winter, particularly with regard to the challenges in endurance racing. There are also various other areas in which further optimisations have been made to the #37 BMW M 1000 RR. The team enjoyed successful winter testing. To conclude preparations, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team took part in the private test day at Le Mans on Tuesday.
The new Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team will be debuting at Le Mans. In this project, the French Tecmas Racing Team of team owner Arnaud Sassone (FRA) is joining forces with Werner Daemen’s company Motorcycle Racing Parts, supported by BMW Motorrad Motorsport. The team will contest the full season in the Superstock class of the FIM EWC with the #9 BMW M 1000 RR. The bike will be ridden by Kenny Foray (FRA), Jan Bühn (GER) and Loïc Arbel (FRA). Maxime Bonnot (FRA) is the fourth rider for Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team.
The Le Mans race weekend begins with the free practice session on Thursday morning. Grid positions will then be determined during the two-part qualifying session on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. The 46th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will start on Saturday at 15:00 (CEST). The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and the Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team will be joined at Le Mans by the privateer BMW teams Team LRP Poland and Seigneur Motorsport Team Mont-Blanc.
The 2023 season in the FIM EWC consists of four events. The Le Mans season opener is followed on 17th/18th June by the 24 HEURES SPA Motos at Spa-Francorchamps (BEL), where BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team celebrated its first victory in a 24-hour race last year. The 8 Hours of Suzuka (JPN) will be held on 6th August, and the season ends in autumn, with the Bol d’Or at Le Castellet (FRA) on 16th/17th September.
Quotes ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “After the long winter break, we are now looking forward to the start of a new season in the FIM EWC. During the break, we have been intensively working on further optimising our endurance motorbike. The new BMW M 1000 RR boasts a completely reworked aerodynamics package. We have also been focusing on improving durability – this has proved to be a weak spot over recent years. We are sure that we have put together an overall package that will allow us to battle for the title, with the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, our three proven riders Markus, Ilya and Jérémy, the new M RR and our partners. We want to lay the foundations for this with a good result at Le Mans. We are also looking forward to working with the new Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team in the Superstock class. We have all the ingredients for a successful season here too. We are all looking forward to Saturday afternoon, when the starting flag will wave for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the new season.”
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “The final test went well. The riders and the team worked a lot. We tested different things and tyres, in different conditions with cold and warm weather, with rain and wind – we had everything. We set very competitive lap times, in the morning and also in the afternoon’s rain. I think we all have a good feeling heading into the race weekend. The team and the riders made a really good job and we are well prepared.”
Markus Reiterberger: “The final test was very extensive. We were able to sort out many things, but we still have work to do before the race. We have clear hopes for the weekend: to finish on the podium or to get the win. It would be great to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We know we can do it in terms of the team, the package and the riders. The important thing is just to get through. There is still a question mark over the weather, but I think we will be prepared for all conditions. We will give our best and are confident.”
Ilya Mikhalchik: “For sure, I was really missing the feeling of jumping on the bike and racing. Now finally race week starts. In the final test, I was feeling really good in the wet and in the dry. The bike behaved really constant and pretty good. Of course we have some more work to do to further improve the bike in all conditions in preparation for the race. But so far all is looking good. All of us riders are fast and have a good feeling. Now let’s see how the weather will be during qualifying and then we hope to have a good start to the race and get a strong result.”
Jérémy Guarnoni: “I think our expectations for this weekend are the same as always when we arrive for a 24-hour race. We want to achieve the best possible result. And I think we have the potential, the speed and the overall package to be able to be fast and win the race. For us riders, is important to make no mistakes and then, if we have problem-free 24 hours, we can for sure be on the podium or win. I think that we also have a good chance to get extra championship points in qualifying but this might also depend on the weather. We don’t know yet how the conditions will be. So let’s see – we will as always give the maximum.”