GINO IS BACK – Archie about FIM EWC #2

Over the last week, the Polish Wójcik Racing team has presented its entire riders lineup for 2024 – remember that this is the ONLY team in the Endurance World Championship that competes in both the EWC and SuperStock (STK) classes. The EWC class team number #77 returns to building the structure of the “Polish Representation” by engaging three drivers from Poland – Artur Wielebski, Kamil Krzemień and Jurand Kuśmierczyk – these three are currently at the top level when it comes to the Polish paddock in motorcycle racing and information about returning to the concept with the “Polish National Team” is very good news.

We are very excited about the changes awaiting Team 77 and we are convinced that the entirely Polish lineup will bring a lot of joy to the Polish fans. Kamil, Artur, and Jurand are young but already very experienced riders, who not only have many Polish Championship titles to their names but also numerous international successes. Kamil has already stood on the FIM EWC podium with us. A few years ago Artur did the impossible, finishing the 24-hour race in Le Mans in a team consisting of only two riders.

Jurand not only showed incredible pace in the Polish Superstock 600 and Superbike Championships this season but also spectacularly debuted in FIM EWC during Bol d’Or. The entire trio will compete in the most demanding Formula EWC class, against mostly the factory teams, and on a completely new bike. It’s a huge challenge, but we can’t wait to get started.” – Sławomir Kubzdyl Manager of Wójcik Racing Team

Archie’s opinion: I consider the decision to sign a contract with Artur, Jurand and Kamil to be a very right decision – Artur and Kamil have experience in Endurance, which is needed to build the pillars of the future of Polish Riders in EWC, and additionally Jurand, who showed his skills during Bol D’or a good result in qualifying, where I clearly believe that if he had more time to feel the EWC class motorcycle, he would be on par with Kamil’s driving pace or even better.

Also, the Superstock #777 lineup has been announced – Kevin Manfredi, Danny Webb and Sheridan Morains remain in the team, and they are joined by none other than our well-known and popular Gino Rea! Yes, Gino Rea returns to Endurance with the Wójcik Racing Team, where he made his debut in Endurance in the 2019 season. After a fatal accident in 2022, Gino Rea clearly showed that the “Never Give Up” rule in Endurance is lifelong for everyone who gets “infected” with this sport and this is the moment to show it in 2024! This is also a strategic decision in terms of regulatory changes in the SuperStock class, which are being prepared for the 2024 season (see below). This is what Sławek Kubzdyl says about Team #777

Gino knew that our bike will always wait for him whenever he feels ready to return to action and I always knew that he will come back to racing – adds Sławomir Kubzdyl. – I’m glad that this day had come and at such an exciting time for us as a team. Gino is a true racer and a perfect fit for Kevin, Danny and Sheridan, who all have been with us for years now and we are absolutely thrilled to have all of them continue with us for 2024. With the new rules allowing four riders to race in the Superstock class, we are confident that the experience and speed of our lineup will help us to fight at the front and develop our project in both categories”.

Archie’s Opinion: This squad has the potential to win the World Cup in the Superstock class – I’m glad that Gino got a chance from Grzegorz and Sławek, because Gino deserved THIS PLACE like never before! This is the time for him to get back into his best shape with us and get what is right for him! Kevin, Shez, Danny and Gino – TOP! But it is known that this will be the so-called “Year Zero” – a new motorcycle, a lot of changes but I am positive about it!

F.C.C. TSR Honda France – Nihil Novi

The Japanese-French factory Honda team does not change anything – For the 2024 season we will have Josh Hook, Alan Techer and Mike Di Meglio. Additionally, TSR Honda has already tested the new motorcycle for 2024 and it looks like they are already prepared for the season even though it’s only December!

In a few sentences, the team owner and Manager Mr. Masakazu Fujii and Josh Hook talk about winter tests and the motorcycle for 2024 „The annual Okayama Winter Test was held over three days from 13-15 December, with all three riders taking part. The final day was cut short early due to thick fog, but the previous two days were spent in good conditions and with the addition of staff from Europe, the basic specifications were decided for 2024 season.

From now on we will concentrate our preparations on the opening race, the 24 Heures Motos. This January and February will be based on the specifications we have gained from this test. «  – Masakazu Fujii« We had a very positive test, the first look at the new 2024 CBR 1000. It was really good. The team have done an amazing job and the bike felt good immediately, we are looking very strong [for next season]. We know there’s a lot of things that need to happen, but the first impression on the on the new bike was a relief. The engine is working well, the electronics also and the chassis has made a big step forward from last year. This was the most important thing we were struggling with [in 2023] and it looks like they’ve improved in that area. » – Josh Hook

Archie’s Opinion: Mr. Fujii-san’s decision is very right, to rely on a proven lineup. Let’s remember that Josh and Mike are the 2022 champions and they won it on a Honda motorcycle – it is clear that TSR Honda is pursuing one goal – to win the world championship again. 2023 they fought until the end, but such is the charm of sport that someone has to lose. I clearly believe that these are the favorites for the title in 2024.

Factory BMW and Guintoli – new era in EWC

BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, is reaching for the 41-year-old EWC and Superbike champion Sylvian Guintoli – Markus Reiterberger and Illya Mykhalchyk will ride with Sylvian. The information about Sylvian was a shock for some people, but at Bol D’or he announced that after the 2023 season he was leaving SERT and joining BMW as a test driver for the manufacturer. Werner Daemen’s EWC team is considered one of the strong teams that fights for top positions and has aspirations to win the world champion title. In a few words, Werner Daemen talks about Sylvian.“Sylvain is the perfect new addition. Few riders bring as much experience on the international stage and, crucially, in the FIM EWC. Through his role in the BMW Motorrad Motorsport test team, he is also familiar with all the details of the BMW M 1000 RR.”

Archie’s Opinion: I expected Sylvian to be a reserve driver in the #37 BMW rather than a full-time rider, knowing that Sylvian’s aspirations are to be the first person to win both the 24 Hours of Le Mans (car) and the 24 Heues Motos (motorcycle) – However, a decision the fact that he will be a full-time rider for BMW is a reinforcement and the competition will be tense in the EWC class.

3ART – new Riders for new Times

3ART Best of Bike Yamaha team, 3rd place in the 2023 season in the Superstock class (same points as WRT #777 – Author’s note), winners of the SuperStock class at Le Mans 2023 announced a new team riders for the 2024 season – Alex Plancassagne, Christopher Kemmer, Mike Watanuki, Guillaume Pot – These are the four new Riders in 3ART.

Archie’s Opinion: As for Alex and Chris, I can say clearly – they are top riders in the Superstock class. They may not be perfect like riders in factory teams, but they have experience and a driving pace that allows them to fight for the top positions. As for Mike Watanuka, his adventure in EWC is starting to open up – in 2023 he rode in Bol D’or and 8 Hours of Suzuka, but without major successes – Guillaume is the fresh French champion in the Promosport 1000 class and I think that as the fourth rider he can prove himself on the good side – it must be clearly stated that 3ART is showing itself from an increasingly better side and you should keep an eye on them.

New Japan Team in FIM EWC – Team Etoile in Superstock

Before Bol D’or, there were rumors about Etoile’s new project for the 2024 season in the Superstock class and on December 15 they officially announced their start in the FULL CYCLE under number #25. The team is Japanese, but their base is in France near Le Mans and they will compete on a BMW M1000RR. Additionally, two Riders have been involved in the project at the moment – Hikari Okubo, who will also ride in the World Supersport class in the 2024 season, but will not ride in two races in Etoile – these will be Le Mans and Suzuka, due to collisions with World Supersport – with Assen and Most. In a few words, team manager Takashi Ichikawa (on the right in the photo) presented the situation with the new project:

It is a great honour for me to announce that Team Étoile will be joining the FIM Endurance World Championship from 2024. We would like to thank everyone who has supported Team Étoile. The French word in our name, étoile, means star. I had a couple of years training as a French chef in Lyon and worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant. Since then, I’ve been looking for a chance to put ‘star’ on my project, and now the time has come. The team’s logo design is a mix of the Japanese and French national flags giving images of collaborating between two countries. Team Étoile is targeting to grow a young, global fanbase and to increase the number of friends who join the EWC from Japan. Also, we would like to deliver excitement of 24-hour endurance races through our project to trigger people’s interest in motorsports.

Hikari Okubo, Takashi Ichikawa

In a few words, Yudai and Hikaru also had the opportunity to present their perspectives of cooperation with the new Japanese-French project “A whole new Japanese team in the EWC is amazing news for me and I am happy to be invited as a rider by Team Principal Takashi Ichikawa. My goal is to use my experience in endurance races, for instance the Suzuka 8 Hours, Le Mans and Bol d’Or. Also, nine years of racing experience in Europe will make be a good influence on the team. But we firstly make the team organisation and bike preparation stable, being ready for the season- opening 24-hour race at Le Mans.” – Hikari Okubo

Yudai Kamei, Takashi Ichikawa

First of all I would like to thank Takashi Ichikawa for inviting me as a rider to the team. I’m really happy to have been involved in 10 years of racing activities and I’m also getting excited about my new challenge of endurance races. A new motorcycle and new tyres will be challenging for me as well, but I’m sure I can contribute to the team with the experience I’ve gained. Once again, I’d like to say thank you to Ichikawa-san and all of my sponsors. I will continue to push myself to the limit.” – Yudai Kamei

Exclusively for the CYRKGP.PL, Takashi Ichikawa answered the three questions we asked:

1. This is your first season in EWC – at what stage are you currently with preparations – do you have technical support from experienced people from EWC?
Takashi Ichikawa – “Preparations for the race are very busy.We have participated in small-scale races in Japan, but not in large-scale races, so we have to buy many things for the race. Just preparing for it takes a lot of work. We plan to ship the necessary components from Japan by boat, pick them up at the Le Mans workshop on March 1, and spend all of March preparing in France.

2. Do you think that combining the BMW brand with Japanese drivers is a good combination?
Takashi Ichikawa – “I think the BMW M1000RR is a very nice motorcycle. While I personally like Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, BMW won the SST class at the Normand race in April this year and I think the M1000 has the advantage when it comes to racing in the Stock class.

3. What are your goals for your first season in FIM EWC?
Takashi Ichikawa – “Our goal for the first year is to complete the 24-hour race.
We feel it will be difficult to finish the race. I experienced this difficulty this year, having competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, SPA and Bol d’Or as a staff member of several teams.
I think finishing the race is a high enough goal for us.

Archie’s Opinion: What can I say, welcome aboard the Endurance World Championship – I’m glad that we will have more and more teams in Superstock and in the paddock throughout the season – changes to the calendar and regulations for 2024 open the way for such teams to participate in the development of EWC for the next few years ! I will definitely try to visit this project during 24 Heues Motos.

SUPERSTOCK WITH 4 RIDERS IN THE RACE? THIS MIGHT WORK!

According to unofficial information, it seems that in 2024 the FIM and promoter Warner Bros Discovery Sports decided to change the regulations in the Superstock class. It is planned that in the 2024 season, not a maximum of three riders but four riders will be able to take part in the race. This allows for very big strategic changes, and it looks like WRT will take full advantage of it to fight for the top positions in the 2024 season.

But soon people will say that “We are breaking traditions” “There has always been a 3 in Endurance” – it’s true, it was assumed that 3 riders were in Endurance, but it is worth looking at other series not related to motorcycles – IMSA, the American Endurance series, allows up to 5 drivers in the team at Daytona 24H, so why not do it with motorcycles, where in fact these motorcycles require more and more physical and mental skills to run them perfectly – additionally, this will allow teams to attract better and better stars to their teams and the era of “reserves” who came to races to ride for 20-30 minutes plus two qualifications and counting will begin to end that someone will fall over so that they will not be able to take off and use this space – now it turns out that the 4th driver’s seat will be more desirable than before – but until there is an official position at this time, this is unofficial information.

I am in favor of changes in the direction that will go towards the development of this sport and these are the changes!

Nasze Social Media

Podoba Ci się nasza twórczość?

Postaw mi kawę na buycoffee.to