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BMW Motorrad Motorsport
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Munich, 15/01/2015, BMW Motorrad Motorsport

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Making history in the Endurance World Championship

He gave the S 1000 RR its first World Cup title: Rico Penzkofer won the Superstock category title together with his Penz13.com team in the 2012 Endurance World Championship. However, this championship is only one of the innumerable victories that the team around the former racer has already celebrated.

In the Endurance World Championship’s Superstock Cup, the team has never finished lower than fourth place in the final standings. In 2011, the squad took the World Cup runner-up title. In both 2013 and 2014, the team clinched the bronze medal.

Rico Penzkofer is particularly proud of winning the 8 hours of Oschersleben in the past two years. In 2014, the team with Pedro Vallcaneras, Markus Reiterberger and Bastien Mackels went down in the annals of the series. A production-based Superstock motorbike scooped the pole position for the first time ever in Endurance World Championship history.

It’s clear that with so much success, Rico Penzkofer and his team will contest the Endurance World Championship again in 2015. BMW Motorrad Motorsport questioned the 39-year old about his plans and goals for 2015.

Moving up to the Superbike class

BMW Motorrad Motorsport: Runner-up 2011, Championship title 2012, as well as third place overall in 2013 and 2014. This run of results in the Endurance World Championship is something to be proud of. What goals have you set for this year?

Rico Penzkofer: 2015 will be different. After five seasons in the Superstock class, we now take the plunge into Superbikes in the EWC category. This is endurance racing’s top flight, with every conceivable technical intricacy. Not only can the engine be tuned, but also different suspension, quick-change systems, special brakes, other wheels and much more are permitted. It’ll be our first year in this class, which is why goals are difficult to define. However, we are sure that we have a strong team: both with the riders as well as the people who work behind the scenes at such races. Although 2015 is our first year in the top class, we still know what we have to do, and I believe that podiums and the top three in the final standings are of course ambitious, but feasible.

BMW Motorrad Motorsport: Which riders will race for you?

Rico Penzkofer: The rider line-up is still not completely finalised, but we’ve had a very good relationship for some time now with Werner Daemen and his team from the Superbike IDM (International German Motorcycle Championship). Werner used to ride in endurance races for my team. He’s very passionate about long-distance racing. So, as the race calendar currently looks, we’ll push on together. There are no clashes with the IDM, which is why we’ll enter Markus Reiterberger and Bastien Mackels. As far as the third and fourth riders are concerned, we are busy compiling a pool. Things are looking very good with the Frenchman Erwan Nigon. Michael Laverty, who returns to the British Superbike Championship from MotoGP, has also been in contact. Obviously, our long serving rider and friend Jason Pridmore from the USA – an experienced and fast guy – is still on board.

BMW Motorrad Motorsport: Why do you rely on the BMW S 1000 RR? What are its strengths?

Rico Penzkofer: Another motorbike is entirely out of the question. I even rode for BMW Motorrad in the Endurance World Championship in 2007 and 2008. BMW builds the world’s best motorbikes. You can collect an S 1000 RR from the dealer and ride quickly on the race track straight away. The basis of this bike is the best you can get. And obviously, as German team we are delighted to compete with a German manufacturer.

Special atmosphere in endurance racing

BMW Motorrad Motorsport: What’s so special about the Endurance World Championship?

Rico Penzkofer: The atmosphere and mood in the paddock. Sounding out the limits of man and machine. The stamina and the fight. The spirit. It goes without saying that you sometimes ask yourself at 4, 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning – whether you are rider or mechanic: “What the hell am I doing here?” For me it’s just one of the best motorsport disciplines there is. Obviously, everybody wants to win, and ultimately you are reliant on yourself and your team. But, for example, when a rider who crashed pushes his motorbike back down the pit lane we all stand outside and cheer him on. This is unique, but only one of many examples.

BMW Motorrad Motorsport: What were your personal highlights in 2014?

Rico Penzkofer: Definitely the first pole position for a stock bike in the Endurance World Championship event at Oschersleben followed by the class victory there. Unsurprisingly also the victory in the Open class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That was our test under real conditions for 2015. Which turned out to be a complete success.

From racer to Team Boss

BMW Motorrad Motorsport: You sat in the saddle of a racing motorbike for many years yourself. What’s the biggest difference compared to your role as Team Boss? Do you ever feel like donning the helmet again?

Rico Penzkofer: As a Team Boss you almost have more to do than a rider does. There is so much to organise and prepare. The tension during the race is far greater than when you ride yourself. Of course, I sometimes get the itch, but this chapter is now closed for me. However, I’ve stayed loyal to my sport. I don’t miss riding that much and I think that I can pass on some of my experience to our riders.

BMW Motorrad Motorsport: In addition to endurance racing, you are also a self-confessed fan of road racing. Which classics are on the agenda for you in 2015?

Rico Penzkofer: We want to contest the big three again; the North West 200 in Northern Ireland, the Tourist Trophy TT on the Isle of Man and the Macau Grand Prix. The planning is already in full swing, but we are unable to provide any precise information at the moment.

Fascination road racing

BMW Motorrad Motorsport: Why are you so fascinated by road racing?

Rico Penzkofer: I love the roads. They are something extreme, unique. I loved competing in real road races. You can’t actually describe it properly. For sure it’s dangerous, and somebody looking in from the outside will never understand what we do, but it’s the coolest thing on the planet. Whoever has done it themselves once will never be able to give it up. You are addicted.

BMW Motorrad Motorsport: Imagine we travel through time to the end of 2015. Which highlights and events would you like to look back on?

Rico Penzkofer: I think that we’ll put together a good team for 2015 – for both endurance and road racing. So, I’d like to start by saying we would like to celebrate a podium or a victory in one of the three big road races. In the Endurance World Championship it would be pretty spectacular to finish in the top three in the final standings. My personal dream? To win the 8 hours of Suzuka. It’ll be incredibly difficult as European team. But, we’ve already put a stock bike on pole position, and nobody could ever have imagined that either...

BMW Motorrad Motorsport: What are your big goals for the future?

Rico Penzkofer: To be World Champion in the Superbike class of the Endurance World Championship.

BMW Motorrad Motorsport: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. BMW Motorrad Motorsport will keep its fingers crossed.

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