The FIM EWC explained
The FIM EWC is an exciting championship in which both the motorcycles and riders (mostly male, occasionally female) are sorely put to the test in races lasting from 8 hours to 24 hours.
The 2017-2018 season will comprise five rounds in France, Germany, Slovakia and Japan. The championship takes place on prestigious tracks like the Paul Ricard circuit at Castellet and the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans in France, and the Suzuka circuit in Japan. The FIM EWC also includes two races in eastern Europe, at Oschersleben in Germany and the very technical Slovakia Ring circuit.
Since Eurosport Events took over as promoter of the EWC alongside the FIM in 2015, the world championship has witnessed a substantial increase in both media coverage, with races being broadcast worldwide, and race attendance figures, as a result of renewed interest in the sport. The championship is also attracting bigger, more international rider line-ups, with an ever-increasing number of new, high-level teams signing up to compete in the FIM EWC each year.
The FIM EWC has some features that really set it apart from other motorsport events. All the races take place partly at night, including the 8-hour races. And the FIM EWC is one of the few world championships in which teams are free to choose their tyres. Another particularity of the FIM EWC is the spectacular Le Mans-style standing start: riders sprint across the track to jump on their bikes.
These long-distance races can be gruelling for both the riders and the machines. Teams are made up of two to three riders, who each ride stints before handing the bike (the race machine is very similar to a road bike) over to one of their teammates.
The FIM EWC has two race categories: Formula EWC and Superstock.
Formula EWC (black number plate background, white-light headlamps, minimum weight 175 kg) is the top category, and performance improvements during the race are possible. The overall appearance of the bike cannot deviate from the homologated model, but the fork, damper, swing-arm, brakes, radiator and exhaust can be modified. Teams are also given a relatively free hand to soup up engine performance. The chassis is equipped with a quick wheel change system.
In the Superstock class (red number plate background, yellow-light headlamps and minimum weight of 168 kg), the machines are practically identical to production bikes. The engine is as provided by the manufacturer, with very limited modifications permitted (injector jets and fuel mapping, clutch reinforcement, a different exhaust silencer, etc.). Wheels must remain as homologated, so teams need a good wheel change strategy at pit stops.
In both Formula EWC and Superstock, the fuel tank is modified to a maximum capacity of 24 litres and fitted with a quick refuelling device.
Both categories can compete for the FIM EWC world champion title. Superstock teams also compete specifically for the FIM EWC World Cup each season.