FIM EWC on the upswing
For its third season as FIM Endurance World Championship promoter, Eurosport Events will consolidate its rejigged race calendar, launched in September 2016 with an all-new championship format. The 2017-2018 FIM EWC season will start with the Bol d’Or on the Paul Ricard circuit in Castellet on 16 and 17 September and wind up with the Suzuka 8 Hours grand finale.
“Since Eurosport Events took over as promoter of the EWC alongside the FIM in 2015, the FIM Endurance World Championship has made strides in terms of media coverage, spectator numbers, international spread and the number of teams participating in the FIM EWC. As was the case at the 24 Heures Motos this past April, a selection committee has been set up for the 2017 Bol d’Or to handle the influx of requests to compete – far superior to pitbox capacity at the Paul Ricard circuit in Castellet. These are encouraging indicators of the attractiveness, very positive evolution and above all the renewal of the FIM EWC championship” says François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, the FIM EWC promoter.
In agreement with the organizers of the Suzuka 8 Hours, Eurosport Events and the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme have undertaken a two-stage revision of the FIM EWC calendar. The first stage made the Suzuka 8 Hours 2017 the FIM EWC grande finale, and this has enhanced the status of both the EWC and the Suzuka 8 Hours, according to Susumu Yamashita, President de Mobilityland. “I was very happy to have been able to hold the Suzuka 8 Hours as the grand finale of the 2016-2017 FIM EWC, all the more so because this year was the 40th anniversary of the Suzuka 8 Hours. There is no doubt that the value of the Suzuka 8 Hours is enhanced by being positioned as the EWC grand finale. As a result, we received many top-level teams and a variety of good riders, which garnered us attention worldwide. We also gained visibility thanks to the broad international media coverage provided by the FIM EWC promoter. This brought us more spectators: a 5,000 increase on the day of the race compared to last year. We also had to pleasure of welcoming the organisers of the Le Mans 24 Heures Motos and the Bol d’Or. We are very satisfied with the new calendar, which will help us develop both the FIM EWC series and the Suzuka 8 Hours grand finale.”
The second phase of the FIM EWC’s calendar revision will see an all-new race being held in Southeast Asia during the winter gap between the Bol d’Or and the 24 Heures Motos. Created with the support of Mobilityland, the new event will be a qualifying race for the Suzuka 8 Hours for Southeast Asian and Japanese teams that are not FIM EWC teams under contract. In order to give all the private teams sufficient time to prepare for this new race alongside their national championships, the new EWC event will be launched in February 2019, and slot into the 2018-2019 season.
Vito Ippolito, FIM President, welcomes the excellent working relationship between the FIM and its partner Eurosport Events: “ I am delighted to see the Promoter’s plan to develop the discipline worldwide bear fruit in the form of an additional round in Asia for the 2018-2019 calendar and growing requests to take part in the event. The diversity of the different rounds and the visibility given to each are undoubtedly a major added value for all the stakeholders including the organisers, teams, manufactures and sponsors. This confirms that the FIM’s decision three years ago to choose Eurosport Events to promote the Championship was the right one. I am eager to see the new season kick off at Le Castellet, showcasing the results of the reform undertaken by Eurosport Events and the FIM for the development of Endurance.”
“For the 2017-2018 season starting this September with the Bol d’Or, François Ribeiro explains, Eurosport Events have decided to maintain the current calendar format and consolidate the championship by increasing the number of participating teams under contract. Many teams will be competing on new Honda and Suzuki bikes that are currently being developed, with limited availability of racing parts. Therefore, it makes more sense to increase the number of races from the 2018-2019 season onwards. The 2017-2018 calendar has one race per month, with a slightly longer break between the last European race and Suzuka. We have switched around the dates for the Oschersleben and Slovakia Ring races so as to have mild weather conditions at both races.”
The objective is to give a further boost to the FIM Endurance World Championship, in terms of both the number and level of riders. Eurosport Events has registered more than 32 contract requests from teams in 12 different countries on 3 continents, i.e. a 70% increase over last season.”
Meanwhile, Eurosport Events has set as a priority for the 2017-2018 season to continue its efforts on media coverage of the championship and shares the common ambitions and objectives of the FIM which are the constant improvement of safety and equity of the teams in the race and during refueling stops.
2017/2018 FIM EWC calendar
16/17 September 2017 – Bol d’Or (24 h) / Le Castellet – France
21/22 April 2018 – 24 Heures Motos / Le Mans – France
12 May 2018* – 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring / Slovakia
9 June 2018* – 8 Hours of Oschersleben / Germany
29 July 2018 – Suzuka 8 Hours / Japan
*Race held on the Saturday