Riders David Checa, Kenny Foray and Mathieu Gines made the last race of the season count in the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans working through the night to score second on the podium.
That gave the Yamaha Racing GMT94 Michelin Yamalube team a title victory in the 2014 FIM World Endurance Championship with the Yamaha YZF-R1.
The title was on the line with several teams still in play going into the final race, and it took careful strategic planning and superb execution in practice and qualifying to make for effective set-up.
The road to the title was not smooth, either, despite the planning. After qualifying fifth overall, a crash by another rider took Checa out and dropped the team more than 40 places back.
An intense team effort was required for the team to claw its way back in it. All while coping with night racing and coping with switching from dry to rain tires and back with the changing weather. By dawn, the Yamaha had climbed back to second place and was closing in on the leader at the finish.
The 50 points gained by finishing second brought the team’s points total to 141 on the season, 37 points ahead of the runner-up Suzuki Endurance Racing Team.
Making things even sweeter for Yamaha was the third place finish in the final event by Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART), which gave them a total of 70 points and sixth place overall for the season.
Yamaha Racing GMT94 Michelin Yamalube rider David Checa summed it up like this:
“To be on the gravel after 24 seconds of race and to be world champion after 24 hours really demonstrates how difficult the competition was! But I feel lucky to be here. That was a near miss – things could have changed dramatically! We made a very regular season. Even if we did not manage to get it, we were always aiming for victory and this world champion title is a great reward.”
Eric DeSeynes, Operations Director for Yamaha Motor Europe said, “This title rewards the quality of the involvement of a team, a spirit and professionalism that merged with the special features of Endurance. Yamaha was able to evolve in this championship thanks to a common motivation, to a bike, the R1, that has been significantly developed during the last three years. World Endurance is a production road-racing championship that allows us to operate our bikes in the hardest conditions and also to get closer to our customers. It is a beautiful image for the motorsport.”
FIM World Endurance Championship Final Standings:
- Yamaha Racing – GMT 94 – Michelin 141
- Suzuki Endurance Racing Team 104
- Team Bolliger Switzerland #8 100
- National Motos 80
- SRC Kawasaki 72
- Monster Energy Yamaha – YART 70
- Honda Racing 63
- Team Motors Events April Moto 60
- Team R2CL 54
- Flembbo Leader Team 47