BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Le Castellet, France, 23/09/2015, FIM Endurance World Championship
The BMW MOTORRAD France Penz13.com team rounded off its debut season in the Superbike class of the FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) with an impressive performance: At the legendary Bol d'Or in Le Castellet, Markus Reiterberger on the #13 BMW S 1000 RR set a new lap record. In the 24-hour race, the team was in second place at one point. Markus Reiterberger, Bastien Mackels and Lukáš Pešek finished the race in fourth place in the Superbike class (EWC SBK) and sixth place overall.
In the Superstock class (EWC STK), VÖLPKER NRT48 & PENZ 13 BY SCHUBERT celebrated its first podium position in the EWC: Marco Nekvasil, Dominik Vincon and Stefan Kerschbaumer on the #48 RR finished third in their class and in an outstanding seventh place overall. A total of 55 teams started the tough race at the Circuit Paul Ricard in the South of France, but only 35 of these saw the chequered flag 24 hours later.
The Bol d’Or is one of the most famous motorcycle races of all and was held for the first time in 1922. The classic made its home in Le Castellet, in the South of France, for more than 20 years, before moving to Magny-Cours in 2000. After a decade and a half, the Bol d'Or now returned to the Circuit Paul Ricard with its 1.8-kilometre Mistral Straight. The full stands and the fact that the entire ticket allocation was sold in advance proves that the Bol d’Or belongs in Le Castellet. The impressive venue near Marseille was completely new territory for the four BMW MOTORRAD France Penz13.com riders, Markus Reiterberger, Bastien Mackels, Pedro Vallcaneras and reserve rider Lukáš Pešek. But this didn't stop the team from causing a stir once again on the #13 BMW S 1000 RR.
In the second qualifying session on Friday, Reiterberger dashed to a new lap record with a time of 1:57.253 minutes. This made him by far the fastest man on the Circuit Paul Ricard on his RR.
“We tuned our BMW S 1000 RR for top speed and power today and I am happy with my time,” said Reiterberger after the qualifying session. “I didn't expect to get a time of 1:57, but I ended up missing out on 1:56 by just a few split seconds. I was able to get everything out of the qualifying tyres and had a top speed of 327 km/h. That was great fun on the Mistral Straight.”
Team boss Rico Penzkofer wasn't short of praise for the young man from Bavaria: “Reiti – what a speed demon! We thought that he would be able to improve immensely with the qualifying tyres and the different set-up today. But he even ended up being faster than those who know this track like the back of their hand.” Only the two local heroes, Fabien Foret and Mathieu Gines , also finished with a time under 1:58 minutes.
In the starting line-up, determined by the average time of all riders in a team, the Penz team were in sixth place. After qualifying, the team shifted the rider line-up: As a result of the performances in the practice and qualifying sessions, it was decided that Reiterberger, Mackels and Pešek would contest the 24-hour race. Pešek made his debut in the EWC in Le Castellet.
Reiterberger rode the first stint for the team. However, a problem with a sensor forced him to return to the pits after just one lap – the fixing had come loose. After it had been repaired, Reiterberger returned to the track at the back of the field. This was the start of the Penz team's sensational catch-up.
The #13 RR was one of the fastest motorcycles in the field, and the crew also did an outstanding and flawless job during the pit stops. This saw the trio make up position after position. After just six hours, the team had made it into the top five. From there they moved further up the field. During the night, Reiterberger, Mackels and Pešek completed double shifts. This meant that the riders who weren't in action had more time to recover.
On Sunday morning, the team headed for the podium: After 17 hours the #13 RR was in third place, and after 19 hours Pešek took second place. But then the team was unlucky once again. Reiterberger, who took over from Pešek, was stranded at the edge of the track with a drive problem with the quick change system. A transporter brought the motorcycle back to the pits. After the bike had been repaired, the team fell back to ninth place. After 24 hours, the #13 RR crossed the finish line in sixth place overall and fourth in the Superbike class.
Reiterberger summed up: “We had two minor problems that ended up keeping us out of the battle for the podium. But I would say that, despite, we didn't do too badly. We had the same pace as the teams at the top who made it onto the podium. But luck wasn't on our side.”
EWC debutant Pešek was also pleased: “We all did a fantastic job – on the motorbike and in the pits – and I am happy that we finished this race. Naturally we had hoped to finish on the podium, but it just wasn't meant to be. When we look at ourselves and how unlucky other teams were – and we were unlucky too – then we didn't do that badly.” Mackels agreed: “We all did an outstanding job and you can't plan or buy good luck. It was the first EWC season for all of us and I believe that we have established a good basis for the future.”
The BMW MOTORRAD France Penz13.com team ended its debut season in the Superbike class in fourth place in the EWC standings. This saw Penzkofer's team outpace several renowned teams who have been established in the starting line-up of the EWC for many years. “We only failed to get a result at one event this season and crossed the finish line three times. This has allowed us to gain a lot of experience for the future. Some of our rivals experienced the complete opposite; they only finished one event and retired three times. We can also be proud of what we have achieved,” said Penzkofer.
The VÖLPKER NRT48 & PENZ 13 BY SCHUBERT team secured the podium position for the BMW S 1000 RR. The team from Oschersleben and its riders Marco Nekvasil, Dominik Vincon and Stefan Kerschbaumer celebrated their first podium success in the Endurance World Championship.
Just like at the “8 Hours of Oschersleben”, the trio secured the Superstock pole position on the #48 BMW S 1000 RR. They achieved a strong seventh starting place in the overall classification. The team dropped down into 25th place in the initial phase, but after that the race went smoothly for Nekvasil, Vincon and Kerschbaumer. A strong pursuit saw them continuously work their way up the field. After 15 hours the trio had taken third place in the Superstock class. The team refused to surrender this podium position: Nekvasil ultimately rode the #48 RR into third place in their class and seventh place overall.
Tecmas Racing also saw the chequered flag in this difficult 24-hour race: Dominique Platet, Clive Rambure and Camille Hedelin on the #88 BMW S 1000 RR finished in eighth place in the Superbike class and in 15th place overall. Whereas Gary Mason, Barry Burrell and Lee Johnston were unlucky: They retired before the end of the race on the BMW S 1000 RR in action for Prime Factors Racing.