2017 24 Hours of Le Mans Results: FIM Motorcycle Endurance Racing
The second round of the 2016/2017 FIM Endurance World Championship, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, wrapped up Easter Sunday at France’s infamous Bugatti circuit .
After leading the 40th edition of the race for over 20 hours, the GMT94 Yamaha team took a historic victory over fellow YZF-R1 teammates, the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team.
GMT94 (David Checa, Niccolo Canepa and Mike Di Meglio) completed the 24 Hours of Le Mans by a mere 19.819 seconds ahead of YART (Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Kohta Nozane). Taking the final podium position, 12 laps behind, was Team SRC Kawasaki (Randy de Puniet Fabien Foret and Mathieu Gines).
Yamaha’s last 24 Hours of Le Mans win was in 2009 with YART, and before that 2005 with GMT94.
The 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans win for GMT94 Yamaha was historic; it was a new race record distance of 860 laps, and the narrowest gap of winning ever recorded.
Speaking after the race, David Checa said: “I don’t think I’ve ever done a 24hr race like this, it was incredible. I have to say congratulations to YART, their riders made it a Superbike race that lasted for 24hrs, which is not usual!
“When we knew Niccolò was not feeling well we decided to continue to ride until the morning because the rhythm was so high and we didn’t want the risk to be exhausted at the end. In the morning we decided to push, we made nearly a minute riding but then lost it also nearly in the garage. In the end we managed it and for me it was an incredible race. We never gave up. It shows everyone that the R1 is fast and works well, to be 12 laps ahead shows what the bike is capable of, and also what the Dunlops can do.”
The official Yamaha recap says Checa enjoyed a strong start, fighting in the front pack from fifth at the first corner to rise back to fourth, before handing over to teammate Canepa who came back out to third position. Canepa was able to increase the pressure before handing over to third rider Di Meglio who continued on the same form to get the race into play.
It wasn’t long before the French team were up in to second position in their rhythm and chasing race leaders YART Yamaha Official, the two soon leaving the rest of the field behind. The early hours of the morning saw committed riding close the gap down to around 15 seconds, before YART began to again stretch it out. As morning broke over the circuit GMT94 raised the game again, cutting the lead back down to around 20 seconds as the two Yamahas continued their duel for the win, Yamaha reports.
Last year’s 24 hours of Le Mans winner, and reigning EWC Champion, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT), which also won the 2016/2017 EWC season opener, the BOL D’OR 24 hours, finished fourth, 12 laps behind GMT94 Yamaha. SERT was followed by F.C.C TSR Honda.
SERT, which lost star rider Anthony Dehalle during a practice crash last month, leads the EWC points battle after two of five rounds. SERT has 95 points—three ahead of SRC Kawasaki.
The series now breaks until Oschersleben 8 Hours in Germany May 20.
2017 24 Hours of Le Mans Results, EWC Round 2
- GMT Yamaha Official EWC Team – Yamaha YZF-R1 – 860 laps 24:04:27
- YART Yamaha Official EWC Team- Yamaha YZF-R1 – 860 laps +19.819
- Team SRC Kawasaki – 848 laps +12 lps
- Suzuki Endurance Racing Team – 848 laps +12 lps
- F.C.C. TSR Honda – 843 laps +17 lps
- Tati Team Beaujolais Racing – 837 laps +23 lps
- Moto AIN CRT – Yamaha YZF-R1 – 834 laps +26 lps
- Maco Racing Team – Yamaha YZF-R1 – 831 laps +29 lps
- Yamaha Viltaïs Experience – Yamaha YZF-R1 – 829 laps +31 lps
- AM Moto Racing Competition – 824 laps +36 lps
2016/2017 Endurance World Championship Points:
- Suzuki Endurance Racing Team – 95 points
- TEAM SRC KAWASAKI – 92
- GMT Yamaha Official EWC Team – 71
- F.C.C. TSR Honda – 67
- YART Yamaha Official EWC Team – 62
- MACO RACING Team Yamaha – 54
- EVA RT WEBIKE TRICK STAR – 53
- Tati Team Beaujolais Racing – 48
- MOTO AIN CRT Yamaha – 48
- Yamaha Viltaïs Experience – 38