The Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART) and the Yamaha France GMT94 Michelin Yamalube Team will set up at the Magny-Cours circuit in France this weekend to kick off the World Endurance Championship with the 78th Bol d’Or.
Last year the GMT94 Yamaha Team achieved a second place in the Bol d’Or and finished second in the championship, just 5 points behind the leaders. Hoping to repeat or maybe even improve upon this success are regular GMT Endurance riders David Checa, Kenny Foray and French Supersport rider Mathieu Gines, who will be joined by Lucas Mahias as a fourth rider.
YART came fourth in last years’ Bol d’Or and ended up in fifth position in the overall standings of the WEC. This year, Yamaha Austria Racing Team’s line-up will consist of Australian Superbike Champion riders Wayne Maxwell and Australian Supersport Champion Rick Olson, and regular endurance rider Igor Jerman.
For riders and the motorbikes, the 24-hour Bol d’Or is one of the toughest races in the world, not just because of its length, but also because of the weight of the bikes. The YZF-R1 used at the Bol d’Or is heavier than the short-distance race bikes because of its lights for riding in the dark, a bigger tank that holds more fuel and heavier bodywork for extra sturdiness.
The 2014 World Endurance Yamaha R1 is modified for racing using many YEC Racing Parts, Yamaha’s own widely available racing parts, and a selection of special developed parts. Changes include modifications to the gearbox, camshafts, cylinder head, gaskets, generators, valve springs, clutch springs and a special racing ECU is used.
Christophe Guyot, GMT94 Yamaha Team manager
“We have done a lot of testing, the bike is really good and all the riders are happy. Michelin is still working to be best prepared for the new tire regulations (45 tires for the race) and I am confident we can expect a good result, if we don’t make any mistakes!”
Mandy Kainz, YART Team Manager
“We are working with a new tire manufacturer and are quite positive after the testing. We are using the full 2014 YEC kit and have two new riders, Maxwell and Olsen. For both riders the Bol d’Or will be their first 24-hour race and their first race on a European circuit, but we are still quite confident that we can finish on the podium like last year.”
26/04/14 - Bol d’Or (24 hours), Magny-Cours, France
27/07/14 - Suzuka 8 Hours, Suzuka, Japan
23/08/14 - 8 Hours of Oschersleben, Oschersleben, Germany
20/09/14 - 24 Hours of Le Mans, Le Mans, France
14/11/14 - 12 Hours of Doha, Losail/Doha, Qatar
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.