The FIM Endurance World Championship kicks off over the weekend of 18-19 April with teams from five different manufacturers all aiming for victory at the Le Mans 24 Heures Motos, which takes place on the famous Bugatti Circuit. Among them will be the BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com squad, riding the 2015 BMW S 1000 RR.
This year’s championship features four rounds: the 24 Heures Motos in Le Mans, the 8 Hours of Suzuka, the 8 Hours of Oschersleben and the season-closing Bol d’Or, which returns to Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France. Twenty permanent teams have been chosen, but there will be 59 teams entered in total at Le Mans, as the championship allows privateers – who form the bedrock of the EWC – to join the permanent squads on a one-off basis at every race.
BMW Motorrad France is back in the EWC’s Superbike category, having joined forces with the Penz13.com Racing Team to compete in this premier class of motorcycle Endurance racing. The rider line-up will be Markus Reiterberger, Pedro Vallcaneras and Gareth Jones, who will replace the injured Bastien Mackels.
Reiterberger is no stranger to the Endurance World Championship. Together with Mackels, he celebrated the first ever pole position in EWC history for a Superstock machine at Oschersleben last year. In combination with their Spanish team mate Vallcaneras they went on to win the 8 hours of Germany in their category in 2014.
Reiterberger is one of the top protagonists in the IDM International German Championship where he won the Superbike category in 2013 and came third overall last year. "I am really looking forward to the 2015 season in the Endurance World Championship,” says Markus. “Le Mans will be my first 24 hours race and I am keen to get going. The new BMW S 1000 RR is damn fast and I feel comfortable on her.”
Reiterberger’s team-mate Bastien Mackels was already part of the Penz13.com Racing Team last year but is currently recuperating from injury. “I am so sorry to miss the first 24h race in Le Mans. When testing with my IDM Team at Zolder, I had an easy crash, but broke my elbow and hand. Recovery will take about three weeks. Meanwhile I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for my teammates this coming weekend.”
Pedro Vallcaneras is a long-time ‘server’ of the Penz13.com team. He joined the Superstock squad in the championship-winning 2012 season and has shown great endurance skills: riding quick and safe, and regular as clockwork. Vallcaneras earned countless podiums with the Penz13.com Superstock squad and is now looking forward to the new task in the EWC category.
"I am proud and happy to be part of the ‘new’ BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com,” says Pedro. “We shared a lot of success in the past, including the FIM World Endurance Superstock Cup title back in 2012, many podiums, race wins and the incredible pole position at Germany last year. It will be a tough season, but I am confident that we will be strong right from the word go.”
Jones is a multiple podium finisher in the German Superbike Championship and has already tasted some Endurance success. The 28-year-old Australian from Queensland is known as a fast and reliable rider with great technical and development skills, and will join the BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com squad for the 24 hours of Le Mans.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to race in Le Mans again, especially with BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com and on the brand new BMW S 1000 RR,” says Jones. “This bike and team had excellent results last year so I’m looking forward to being on a competitive bike and I intend to make the most out of it. Of course the circumstances are not those you want, as Bastien got injured in a test crash. I really hope he will be fit soon and can be back on the bike.”
The team also has named its fourth rider for the season opener of the 2015 FIM Endurance World Championship at Le Mans. It will be 22-year-old Karel Pesek from the Czech Republic.
In stepping up to the EWC category in 2015, BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com will bank on the services of the brand new BMW S 1000 RR. The team will again count on the reliable support of the BMW Motorrad Motorsport engineers, technicians and expertise, a collaboration which strongly grew in the past years and will do so further. Putting together a competitive squad requires incredibly high levels of dedication and support, facts that Team Principal Rico Penzkofer knows only too well.
“We’ve been constant front runners in the Superstock class of the Endurance World Championship for the past five years, we’ve won races, secured a pole position – the first ever for a stock-spec bike – and achieved one World title. The move up to the EWC category was the next logical step but it would not be possible without strong supporters. For sure we thank BMW Motorrad France for their partnership in the upcoming season, also Werner Daemen, whose passion for the Endurance made this joint-venture possible, and all those who helped and supported us over all the last years.”
The 24 Heures Motos in Le Mans is considered to be a magical race for all the teams and riders for a number of reasons. It’s the opening round of the season after a long winter of preparation, which tests endurance to the extreme due to its vast distance. The track is very technical and physical for the riders because of the heavy braking zones, while the weather can also play a key role.
The EWC is back on TV and will be broadcasted on Eurosport Player from 1415 on Saturday 18 April until 1515 on Sunday 19 April and on Eurosport channels all around the world.