24 Hours of Le Mans | EWC Preview

2011 Endurance World Championship / Round 4

The penultimate round of the 2011 Endurance World Championship heads to France this weekend for the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans (Sept. 24, 25).

After victory at the last round, the 8 Hours of Suzuka, the BMW Motorrad France 99 (Michelin) team leads the EWC by six points over the reigning champion, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) (Dunlop).

For the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the three pilots are set for the BMW France 99 team, with the following riders contesting aboard the S1000RR: Sebastien Gimbert, Erwan Nigon and Damian Cudlin.

The SERT team has yet to announce the the three official riders, but it’ll choose from 24-hour kin Dominique Meliand, Vincent Philippe, Freddy Foray, Daisaku Sakai or Anthony Delhalle.

The third team that has a chance at getting into the top spot after Le Mans is the Yamaha Racing France GMT 94 Ipone team (Michelin) of David Checa, Kenny Foray and Matthieu Lagrive.

The Yamaha France team is currently 22 points behind BMW France, but with 25 points offered at 24 Hours of Le Mans, it can possibly grab the top positions.

But the reigning Le Mans champions may cause some trouble as the top three teams vie for points in the penultimate round. These champs are on Team SRC Kawasaki (Pirelli), with riders Julien da Costa, Gregory Leblanc and Olivier Four.

The Monster YART Yamaha (Michelin) will try their best to retaliate from a difficult season so far. Igor Jerman, Steve Martin and Gwen Giabbani will have the support of British Superbike rider Loris Baz, a welcome recruitment as Gwen Giabbani is suffering from a dislocated shoulder after a crash earlier this week.

Also challenging the grid will be the Isle of Man TT star team, Honda TT Legends. The Honda TT Legends will consist of some of the fastest road racers, including John McGuinness, Keith Amor and Cameron Donald, who is standing in for injured rider Steve Plater. They currently sit in 13th in the Endurance World Championship, but are always a crowd favorite.

FIM Endurance World Championship Current Points (after four of six rounds):

  1. BMW MOTORRAD FRANCE 99: 68
  2. SUZUKI ENDURANCE RACING TEAM: 62
  3. YAMAHA FRANCE GMT 94 IPONE: 46
  4. F.C.C. TSR HONDA: 30
  5. TEAM SRC KAWASAKI: 28

FIM World Endurance Championship: 24 Hours of Le Mans Schedule:

Thursday, Sept. 22

  • 12.30-14.30 Free practice
  • 16.30-19.00 Qualifying sessions
  • 21.00-22.00 Night practice

Friday, Sept. 23

  • 11.00-13.30 Qualifying sessions

Saturday, Sept. 24

  • 10.30-11.15 Warm-up
  • 15.00 Race starts

Sunday, Sept. 25

  • 15.00 Race finishes