Suzuki Endurance Racing Team – SERT – has done it once again. The team, consisting of team riders Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and newbie Etienne Masson, won its ninth Le Mans 24 Hours at the famed Bugatti Circuit in France.
SERT took the lead on the fifth hour of the race, and went on to win the 38th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours, round one of the 2015 FIM Endurance World Championship.
Though Delhalle experienced a high-speed slide off the circuit with an hour remaining, the GSX-R1000-powered team was able to take the victory by seven laps ahead of the early race leaders, SRC Kawasaki’s Gregory Leblanc, Matthieu Lagrive and Fabien Foret.
Third – 12 laps off the pace – was the Team Bolliger Switzerland Kawasaki team consisting of Horst Saiger, Roman Stamm and Daniel Stutter.
Speaking of the race, Suzuki says “after qualifying fourth on the grid, 13-time World Champions SERT – who also raced to victory at last year’s event – set a blistering and consistent pace, taking 26 well-orchestrated pit-stops during 24-hours of close-and-intense racing between the 56 entered teams; completing a total of 833 laps without the ultra-reliable GSX-R1000 missing a beat. SERT’s total pit-stop times took 36.2 minutes throughout the event.”
SERT Team Manager Dominique Méliand said: “In Endurance, you have to manage the race, see what happens, set the pace according to the issues suffered by the opponents, take the least possible risks; and that is how we are on the top-step of the podium at the finish. And our greatest strength is to have good riders and a team which always answers the call of duty and never gives up!”
Vincent Philippe said: “We are a tight-knit group and we knew that the package was capable of winning.”
Delhalle said: “It was a painful race for me. I managed to do five laps before losing grip of the front tyre. I concentrated on holding the bike as much as possible so as not to go into the gravel trap too fast and to prevent greater damage. Then in the night I was sick. In the morning, and for the first time, I went to Dominique to tell him that I was not able to ride and my two team-mates finished the race.”
Masson said: “First race with the SERT and first victory! It’s a great feeling and the result of all the work we did this winter. I was afraid of not being up to scratch and I am very proud of what we have done!”
The second round of the FIM EWC will take place on July 26 in Japan for the Suzuka 8 Hours.
2015 Le Mans World Endurance Results:
1: SERT (Suzuki GSX-R1000) – Philippe, Delhalle, Masson – 833 laps – (26 pit-ins).
2: SRC Kawasaki (Kawasaki ZX 10R) – 826 laps – (26 pit-ins).
3: Team Bolliger Switzerland (Kawasaki ZX 10R) – 821 laps – (27 pit-ins).
4: Junior Team LMS (Suzuki GSX-R1000) – Guittet, Black, Maitre – 821 laps – (22 pit-ins).
5: GMT94 Yamaha (Yamaha R1) – 819 laps – (27 pit-ins).
6: Team Traqueur Louit Moto 33 (Kawasaki ZX 10R) – 816 laps – (27 pit-ins).
7: BMW Motorrad France (BMW S 1000RR) – 816 laps – (30 pit-ins).
8: Tati Team Beaujolais Racing Team (Kawasaki ZX 10R) – (26 pit-ins).
9: AM Moto Racing Competition (Suzuki GSX-R1000) – 811 laps – (25 pit-ins).
10: April Moto Motors Events (Suzuki GSX-R1000) – 808 laps – (27 pit-ins).
2015 Le Mans 24 Hours Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Photo Gallery: