2011 BMW S 1000RR: Arctic Circle Test

2011 BMW S1000 RR

I am just back from the Arctic Circle and Arctic Circle Raceway in Norway. I have spent a whole week up north and four of them testing the 2011 BMW S 1000 RR and Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa, Diablo Superbike Pro and Superbike SC2 racing tires and slicks in association with Bikeport.no.

I have also completed my Road-Racing license, done my first race (1000 Club Race where I participated as Rookie 1000) and instructed road riders in the art of track riding. Most of the riders I had the pleasure of riding with had enormous progression as riders by the end of the camp.

The BMW S1000RR was bog standard apart from the fact that I removed the mirrors, blinkers, number plate assembly and pillion pegs. I progressed through from road tires aboard the BMW S 1000RR all the way to full on racing slicks and my oh my is there a vast difference between them! I just can’t praise those Superbike SC2 slicks enough!

But before I made the race modifications required I did a road ride up to the Arctic Circle itself 55 kilometers north of the circuit. In this area of Norway and further north you have midnight sun in June and July. In fact the sun doesn’t set until late July/beginning of August. This makes ACR the perfect place for 24 hour racing in the summer. I did a track walk at midnight.

This was a race camp and I had no mechanic or any of the support that I usually have at launches and events so I had to do what all the other club racers and punters do weekend after weekend. It’s bloody hard work I tell you so hail the club racers out there! Not only did I have to prepare for my first race, take the Road-Racing license, test a new BMW S1000RR and several sets of tires I also had a tight schedule in between to video and instruct road riders where some of them had their first circuit encounter.

The difference in speed was enormous. I went to bed each night feeling like I had done 10 rounds in a boxing ring and woke up after only a few hours sleep feeling like I was suddenly twice as old as I am. But I must say that this racing camp has improved me as a rider and made me ready to race properly!

The 2011 BMW S 1000RR is no less than a track ready monster. I did decent lap times in the end with a bog standard superbike that you can buy in the shop. The main modification of course were the slick tires from Pirelli and particularly the full on race Superbike tires changes the Beemer into something very mean and angry that can handle insane cornering in safety.

I also did a whole day on the Pirelli Superbike Pro slicks that have been designed to last for at least two hard days on track without the necessity of tire warmers. They do of course work better straight away with tire warmers but I tried both and even used them both for my qualifying session and for the race. Had I had a dedicated mechanic I’d put the SC2’s on for the race but realistically I had no chance to change tires myself and then be ready for race with warmed up SC2’s and all in only 15 odd minutes.

I qualified 11th in my first race and I finished seventh in the race and we were about 15 racers on the grid. I’m just delighted that I didn’t finish last and that nobody lapped me in the 10 lap sprint to the finish. The start and start training was my biggest worry as I was testing a press demo bike and I do have some mechanical empathy so I reckon I was pretty much the last man into the first corner before I started my progression to seventh.

I have a lot to say about this event so much more in the full report. I wish to thank Bikeport.no and Liz for perfect organization and for being the best hosts you could wish for on such an event. Those ace chaps at Pirelli provided me with tires to test which made this week so interesting for me. With those slicks tested I have seen the light. I just want to race now.

Photography: Picman.co.uk