Finale at the Bol d'Or: Exciting battle for the title in FIM EWC.
Le Castellet. BMW Motorrad Motorsport is eagerly awaiting the thrilling season finale of the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC) this coming weekend (14th to 17th September). The world championship title will be decided at the 24-hour Bol d’Or race at Le Castellet. Werner Daemen’s BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team is in third place overall as they head to the South of France, making them one of the main players in the race for the title. In the Superstock class, Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team is also in a promising position.
The factory riders Markus Reiterberger, Ilya Mikhalchik and Jérémy Guarnoni on the #37 BMW M 1000 RR of BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team started the season with two podium positions. They finished both the 24-hour race at Le Mans and the one at Spa-Francorchamps in third place. At the Suzuka 8-hour race, the team finished in an excellent sixth place, making them the best European team.
In the world championship standings, BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team is in third place going into the finale, trailing the leaders by just 38 points. The number of points awarded at the Bol d’Or will by multiplied by a factor of 1.5. This means that the winning team will receive 60 points, and there will be 49.5 points for second place and 42 points for third place. In addition, further points will be awarded to the best teams in the interim standings after eight and 16 hours. There will also be points for the top positions in qualifying.
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team used the private day of testing at Le Castellet on Tuesday to make their final preparations for the finale. In addition to regular riders Reiterberger, Mikhalchik and Guarnoni, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK factory rider Loris Baz will also be at the Bol d’Or as the fourth rider.
In the Superstock class of the FIM Endurance World Cup, the new Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team with the #9 BMW M 1000 RR had a perfect start to their maiden season when Kenny Foray, Jan Bühn and Loïc Arbel won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Going into the finale, the team, managed by Arnaud Sassone, which is collaborating with Werner Daemen’s company Motorcycle Racing Parts and with BMW Motorrad Motorsport, is in fourth place in the Superstock class. They are just 16 points off first place. The fourth rider in this team at the Bol d’Or is Nelson Major, the newly crowned champion of the French European Bikes Championship.
The first qualifying sessions get underway late afternoon on Thursday, followed by the second round of qualifying on Friday morning. The 86th edition of the Bol d’Or gets underway at 15:00 CEST on Saturday 16th September. The race will finish 24 hours later. In addition to BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team, the privateer BMW teams LRP Poland, TONE RT SYNCEDGE 4413 BMW and Seigneur Motorsport Team Mont Blanc will also be contesting the Bol d’Or.
Quotes ahead of the Bol d’Or.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “We are full of confidence as we eagerly await the season finale. We did some testing recently and had some strong performances. We are very well prepared, and I am convinced that we have the pace to win the Bol d’Or. But it is a 24-hour race, and we know that anything can happen. There are a lot of points up for grabs, and we are 38 points behind the leader. Can we win the world championship? We have to try to win, and then we will also need a bit of luck in terms of the results of the other teams. But I am feeling confident.”
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “The test day was really good. Our riders rode very well. We made some changes to prepare for qualifying and the lap times are looking strong. At the test, there were no transponders but I am sure that we are within the top three. Our riders are quite happy. Of course we still have some things on the list where we can further improve. That’s our homework now and then we are ready for the qualifying and the race.”
Markus Reiterberger: “We enter the final race of the season highly motivated. The track is a high-speed circuit, which should suit our bike. We have a powerful engine and good aerodynamics, which worked in our favour last year when we secured the pole position. Our recent test here was also quite promising. We were able to further optimise our bike, experimented a lot, and will continue working to get the best package for the weekend. We still have a chance to become world champions. Our goal is to secure the pole position and, in the race, at least make it to the podium, but preferably take the victory. However, endurance races are always unique, and the track is demanding on both the machine and the rider. Many things can happen, but we are hopeful for a successful race and bringing the title home for BMW.”
Ilya Mikhalchik: “I am looking forward to the race. The feeling on test day was quite good. The bike worked well and the performance of the tyres was also not bad. Overall, all was good, all riders have been fast. Now we just have to find something extra to be more constant in the race. We just want to do our best in the final race, we try to fight until the end and to see where we can finish and what we can do.”
Jérémy Guarnoni: “This weekend will be really important for us. We have two goals: we want to win the race and if we are successful we probably can be world champions. So it’s only about to go really full gas all week and in the race, and to have clean and trouble-free 24 hours.”
Loris Baz: “I am really happy to be here at the Bol d’Or and help the guys. I would have come here anyway to visit and support my friend Jérémy and the entire BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. Now it’s great to do some laps. The people now how much I like endurance and how important it is for French people. It’s really cool to be here.”
Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team
Arnaud Sassone, Team Manager Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team: “We are feeling confident. We have everything in place. We know that the motorcycle is the most powerful bike in the field and our riders are in top form. If we put in the same level of performance as we have thus far, we have a chance of getting the win at Le Castellet. Everything else depends on how our direct rivals perform.”