BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Le Mans, France, 22/04/2015, FIM Endurance World Championship
The BMW MOTORRAD France Team Penz13.com experienced a baptism of fire in the EWC class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. At the opening round of the FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) Markus Reiterberger (GER), Gareth Jones (AUS) and Pedro Vallcaneras (ESP) rode to seventh position overall, and took fifth in the Superbike category. In the Superstock class the Völpker NRT48 & Penz13 by Schubert Motors Team counted on the talents of Austrian rider Marco Nekvasil, Brit Stephen Mercer and Japanese Hayato Takada. The team finished 16th overall, and eighth in the Superstock ranking.
A 24 Hour race is the ultimate test of man and machine, and there were very few of the 56 teams competing who reached the end of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the 38th running of the event – without encountering at least one problem over the race distance. Even the top two teams – 13-times World Champions the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) and the SRC Kawasaki Team – both had riders go down during the race.
With the fastest time in the first free practice of the 24 Hours Classic, Markus Reiterberger was able to demonstrate the performance of the BMW S 1000 RR of his BMW MOTORRAD France Team Penz13.com. The team’s three riders were all inside the top five during qualifying, and ended the session within striking distance of the top time. Inside the first hour of the race the lead-out rider Reiterberger lost 15 seconds, which was later discovered to be down to a tyre losing air. Team Manager Rico Penzkofer then had to get further problems under control during the race in order to make progress.
“Our first mission in the 24 Hour race in the Superbike class was to finish, and we did that,” said Penzkofer on Sunday evening. “We had some problems, such as two broken exhaust silencers, which has never happened to us before, a couple of issues with the lighting system, a tyre that lost air – all strange ones. We now need to analyse closely what occurred in preparation for the next race. That’s the nature of the FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) though! We’ve seen how tough it is, because even some of the most established teams had problems. I think we did a good job here, but of course we won’t rest before the next race.”
Seventh place in the race for Reiterberger, Jones and Vallcaneras meant fifth in the EWC class. Thanks to the extra points awarded after eight and 16 hours, the BMW MOTORRAD France Team Penz13.com has 22 points to its name and is seventh in World Championship standings.
The Völpker NRT48 & Penz13 by Schubert Motors Team, with manager Ingo Nowaczyk, started the Le Mans race with Austrian Marco Nekvasil, Brit Steve Mercer and Japanese rider Hayato Takada, and was able to achieve 16th place after 24 hours. That meant a finish of eighth position in the Superstock class for the team from Oschersleben.
“We only had a problem at night time, when we had to solve an issue with the throttle,” said team manager Nowacyzk. “We did that quickly. Otherwise we were consistent and recorded even faster times than last year. I had thought we could finish higher, because our pace here last year would have seen us inside the top five in the Superstock. The other teams were all very well prepared, and now we have to close the gap in the next race. However, we have to remember we don’t race a 24 Hour race every day, so we can be happy.”
In addition to the BMW MOTORRAD France Team Penz13.com and the Völpker NRT48 & Penz13 by Schubert Motors Teams, there was another BMW S 1000 RR in use at Le Mans. The Prime Factors racing team of Gary Mason, Barry Burrell and Stefan Cappella placed 19th.