BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Le Castellet, France, 23/09/2019, FIM Endurance World Championship
The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and the newly developed endurance version of the BMW S 1000 RR enjoyed a successful debut in the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC). At the Bol d’Or at Le Castellet, rider trio Kenny Foray, Ilya Mikhalchik and Julian Puffe finished in third position.
The 83rd edition of the Bol d’Or kicked off the 2019/20 FIM EWC season, which the newly formed BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team is contesting as a works team for the first time with the new RR. The development of the endurance version of the motorcycle for the FIM EWC started just a few months ago. This year’s Bol d’Or had to be stopped between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. due to extremely bad weather with rain and storms, meaning that the actual race duration was just around twelve hours instead of 24.
“It was a turbulent opening race with a very good result,” said BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers. “There has never been a Bol d‘Or like this. On one hand, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team faced an additional challenge since we did not to find a good rain set-up for the chassis and electronics in the run-up. Ilya also had his first ever experience of Dunlop rain tyres in the race. In this respect, the interruption suited us. On the other hand, as a totally new project it might have benefitted us that the team and bike weren’t subjected to the usual pressures of a full 24-hour distance. But overall, it has to be said that with our speed, the pit stops, the team performance and also in terms of fuel consumption, we were on track. That shows that we have developed a super basis in the short time available. Yes, we were gifted a few places by the problems the top teams experienced, but that’s all part of 24-hour races.”
The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team caused a stir with the new RR early on. On Thursday, Mikhalchik set an interim new lap record for the FIM EWC at Le Castellet, with a time of 1:53.669 minutes. The qualifying sessions, in which reserve rider Bastien Mackels was also in action, ended on Friday with a terrific fourth place on the grid for the #37 RR.
When the race was interrupted on Saturday evening the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team was in seventh place. The #37 RR then restarted the race on Sunday morning from that position. In drying conditions, Foray, Mikhalchik and Puffe soon moved up into the top three, and the #37 was even in second place for a long time. However, a technical problem arose in the final phase which prevented closing rider Mikhalchik from defending the almost-certain podium. Just a few minutes before the chequered flag, Mathieu Gines of Team ERC Endurance overtook Mikhalchik to move into third place. The Ukrainian ended up crossing the finish line in fourth place, just four seconds behind Gines.
In the evening, however, race direction informed that Team ERC Endurance had been excluded from the classification after scrutineering. This promoted the #37 RR of the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team to third place.
The Tecmas BMW GMC team also finished the Bol d’Or in the top ten. Camille Hedelin, Alexis Masbou and David Perret finished in ninth place with the #9 RR. 15th place overall and fifth place in the Superstock class went to the GERT56 by GS YUASA team with Stefan Kerschbaumer, Lucy Glöckner and Pepijn Bijsterbosch.
3rd #37 BMW S 1000 RR – BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team – Kenny Foray, Julian Puffe, Ilya Mikhalchik, Bastien Mackels (+ fastest race lap)
8th #9 BMW S 1000 RR – Tecmas BMW GMC – Camille Hedelin, Alexis Masbou, David Perret
14th #56 BMW S 1000 RR - GERT56 by GS YUASA - Stefan Kerschbaumer, Lucy Glöckner, Pepijn Bijsterbosch – 5th place SST
30th #90 BMW S 1000 RR – Team LRP Poland – Bartlomiej Lewandowski, Dominik Vincon, Marc Neumann
32nd #53 BMW S 1000 RR - Bertl K. Racing Team – Nico Thöni, Patrick Dangl, Lukas Walchhütter
44th #74 BMW S 1000 RR – SEIGNEUR MOTORSPORT RACING – David Henriques, Christophe Seigneur, Maxime Duperier, Julien Ferre – 25th place SST
DSQ #6 BMW S 1000 RR – Team ERC Endurance – Mathieu Gines, Julien Da Costa, Louis Rossi, Jan Bühn