Racing season is just around the corner. How exciting is that? In order to bring you up to speed about the calendar, the races and the racing teams, we have put together a handy overview below so you can fully enjoy the upcoming racing season.
FIM Endurance World Championship 2021 calendar
This year, four races feature on the FIM Endurance World Championship schedule. The season starts at Le Mans in France with the 24 Heures Motos being held on 12 and 13 June. Three other major races will also return to the calendar in 2021:
- The FIM EWC will once again stage the 12H of Estoril, to be held in Portugal on Saturday 17 July.
- The Bol d’Or will take place at the Paul Ricard Circuit at Le Castellet in France on 18 and 19 September.
- The Suzuka 8 Hours has been rescheduled to Sunday 7 November and will wrap up the 2021 season, with 150% points awarded for the final race.
This racing season, several teams have chosen to ride with Bridgestone tyres, including 3 title contenders. What do you already know about these 3 teams contending for the EWC crown? Get to know them a little better in the overview below.
1. Yamaha Austria Racing Team – YART
YART (Yamaha Austria Racing Team) is a World Endurance Championship racing team that was founded in 2001 by owner and Team Manager Mandy Kainz. YART is based in Heimschuh, a small village in the south of Austria. Their success story started in 2003 and 2004 when they achieved their first podiums. YART finished third overall in the 2005 World Championship, starting a five-year run during which, they never finished outside of the top three.
In 2009, the team achieved the ultimate goal with their Yamaha YZF-R1 winning the 2009 World Endurance Championship – they won the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race, the 8 Hours of Oschersleben, the 8 Hours of Albacete and the 8 Hours of Doha. So YART have achieved 34 podiums with 10 victories, one world champion title and 13 fastest race laps. In recent years, they have also enjoyed a great winning streak:
- 2020: 12h of Estoril
- 2019: 8h of Sepang
- 2018 & 2019: 8h of Slovakia Ring
Curious to see what victories they can add to their record this year?
More info can be found on their website.
Click here to get to know the YART manager and riders
- CEO and Team Manager: Mandy Kainz
- Rider 1: Niccolo Canepa
Date of birth: 14.05.1988
Place of birth: Genua
Hobbies: jet skiing, travelling, cars, extreme sports
- Rider 2: Marvin Fritz
Date of birth: 20.04.1993
Place of birth: Mosbach
Hobbies: running, mountain biking, swimming
- Rider 3: Karel Hanika
Date of birth: 14.04.1996
Place of birth: Brno
Nationality: Czech Republic
Hobbies: handball, tennis, cycling
2. Yoshimura SERT Motul
About Yoshimura SERT Motul
Suzuki Motor Corporation has joined forces with Yoshimura Japan to form a new factory team for the 2021 FIM Endurance World Championship. Yoshimura was founded in 1954, and ever since has manufactured power tuning equipment for four-stroke racing engines and has produced motorcycle parts and accessories. The company was one of the first Japanese teams to race abroad, competing in motorcycle races in the US from 1971 onwards, while also establishing a base there for racing activities the following year. In Japan, the company had victories in many races, including being the first winner of the first ever Suzuka 8-Hours Endurance Race in 1978. As a globally renowned engine power tuner, they contributed to the development of motorcycles: Yoshimura first cooperated with Suzuki in 1976, developing the four-stroke GS750 into a racing machine. Together, the two companies have competed in many racing events, right through to the present day.
With the intention of regaining the EWC championship in the 2019-2020 season, Suzuki further developed the GSX-R1000R machine together with SERT and Yoshimura. For the 2021 season, Suzuki’s goal is to grow in strength by entrusting operation of the team to Yoshimura and competing for back-to-back championships as Yoshimura SERT Motul. The racing know-how that SERT has earned over the years, combined with Yoshimura’s expertise in race machine tuning and team management, will form a new cooperation and team that embodies the Team Suzuki spirit and is ready to defend the EWC title.
It will be very exciting to see this newly assembled team race this season!
More info can be found on their website.
Click here to get to know the Yoshimura SERT Motul manager and riders
- Team Director: Yohei Kato
- Rider 1: Sylvain Guintoli
“This new challenge is very exciting. I have raced with Team SERT in the past (8H of Doha 2010) and on three occasions with Team Yoshimura (8H of Suzuka) so this feels amazing to be able to challenge all together for the full Endurance World Championship.”
- Rider 2: Gregg Black
“After winning the World Endurance Championship in 2020, I am really looking forward to the new season coming up, especially with the strong support from Yoshimura along with Suzuki and SERT. Also, we have the new Bridgestone collaboration, which will be very interesting. With the new official calendar release, we now know the first race will be held at the 24H le Mans in April, so I will continue my preparation to be at 100% for this first event of the season!”
- Rider 3: Xavier Simeon
“I’m quite pleased with the more intensive collaboration between SERT and Yoshimura. For 2021, the target will be to keep this number one on the plate. I feel at home with the Team and I’m enjoying riding the GSX-R1000. I’m also pleased to welcome Sylvain and Kazuki to the Team, and with Gregg I’m sure we will make a good team.”
- Rider 4: Kazuki Watanabe
“I’m so proud and excited to be a part of Yoshimura SERT Motul. I worked a lot to develop the bike for EWC last year. It was a new experience for me to concentrate on working as a test rider, and I was able to have a deeper understanding of the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-1000R. I’m really looking forward to going on the track and would like to hear how my teammates feel about the bike. It is a new challenge to race EWC other than Suzuka and I have never experienced a 24hour race before and I will do all my best for the team.”
3. F.C.C. TSR Honda France
About F.C.C. TSR Honda France
F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s long history is inextricably linked to Honda’s own history in Japan. TS, or Technical Sports, was created in 1963 by Teruyoshi Fujii after a career as a Honda factory rider in the Grand Prix. With the help of his friend Soichiro Honda, the brand’s founder, he established Technical Sports at Suzuka – where Honda had just built a racetrack – in order to manufacture spare parts for racing bikes. In 1984, his son Masakazu Fujii took over the reins of TS.
1988 was a pivotal year for the Technical Sports race team. They claimed their first victory at the Suzuka 4 Hours and partnered up with F.C.C., a Suzuka-based manufacturer of spare parts and clutches. This enduring partnership has lasted for more than 30 years.
In 1990, TS participated in the Suzuka 8 Hours for the first time, finishing 26th. Masakazu Fujii’s team has been on the starting grid of the race in Japan every single year since. In 1991, TS were renamed TSR (Technical Sports Racing) and stepped up their ambitions, entering the GP 125 championship.
F.C.C. TSR Honda also compete every year in the Suzuka 8 Hours. The team took their first podium finish in 2003, and their first win in 2006. They once again won the Suzuka 8 Hours in 2011 and 2012. Overall, they have collected six podium finishes since 2003.
The team then decided to push on beyond Japan and the 8 Hours. In 2016, the team signed up as an FIM EWC full-season entry and obtained a noteworthy 3rd-place finish in the 24 Heures Motos. The next season, they placed 4th overall in the 2016-2017 FIM Endurance World Championship. After establishing a partnership with Honda’s French subsidiary in the 2017-2018 season, the team became known as F.C.C. TSR Honda France. They took the win at the 24 Heures Motos and the 8 Hours of Oschersleben, as well as the FIM EWC world title. It was an important first for a Japanese team.
We are gearing up to closely follow their racing adventures!
More info can be found on their website.
Click here to get to know the F.C.C. TSR Honda France manager and riders
- Team Director: Masakazu Fujii
- Rider 1: Mike Di Meglio
Mike Di Meglio is a French motorcycle racer and two-time world champion who claimed the 2008 125cc title, as well as winning the 2017-2018 FIM Endurance World Championship. Since the 2018-2019 EWC season, Di Meglio has raced for F.C.C. TSR Honda France.
- Rider 2: Josh Hook
Josh Hook started riding at the age of 14 months. He started dirt track riding in 2005, then moved to road racing in 2008, where he ranked 3rd at the MRRDA series nationally. Hook was selected to compete in the Moto GP Red Bull Rookies Cup in Europe in 2009 and 2010.
- Rider 3: Yuki Takahashi
Yuki Takahashi, who first caught people’s attention in the GP250 (5th in 2008) and subsequently in Moto2, has also made his mark on the JSB 1000 Superbike championship (5th in 2018) where he recently won the first All Japan Superstock 1000 title in the new category introduced by the Japanese championship in 2020. Most importantly, Yuki Takahashi has a strong track record in the Suzuka 8 Hours. He climbed the third step of the 2010 Suzuka 8 Hours podium with F.C.C. TSR Honda and finished 2nd in 2012 with Toho Racing and Moriwaki’s Honda. He then continued racing with Moriwaki, regularly finishing in the Top 10 at Suzuka. Yuki Takahashi has now signed up to be a full-season FIM Endurance World Championship rider alongside Josh Hook and Mike Di Meglio.