Honda Viltais Racing born for EWC 2023
Viltaïs Racing will go for more FIM Endurance World Championship glory in 2023 powered by Honda rather than Yamaha and using Pirelli tyres instead of Dunlop.
The partnership with Honda follows a 14-year alliance with Yamaha that culminated in Viltaïs Racing’s dramatic Bol d’Or victory last September, which secured third place in the FIM Endurance World Championship for Teams and the Independent Teams’ title.
Managed by Yannick Lucot, Viltaïs Racing will continue to use its now famous number 333 on its new Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade during the four-event 2023 EWC season, which begins with the 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans from 13-16 April.
Having previously competed under the Viltaïs Racing Igol banner, the team from Auvergne in France will run as Honda Viltaïs Racing in 2023, when it will also embark on a new partnership with CBO Racing in the EWC and French Superbike Championship. Viltaïs Racing has stressed its alliance with Honda won’t change its status as an independent team.
“We have had some great experiences with Yamaha and I would like to sincerely thank Eric de Seynes for the support he has given us,” said Viltaïs Racing Team Manager Yannick Lucot. “It is with a heavy heart, but also with new ambitions and increased means that the team is changing brands. This new project brings together many partners who all have the same desire. I am very proud of the trust they have placed in us, and we will be worthy of it. I deeply believe in this story that we are writing.”
Bruno Skotnicki, Honda France, said: “In 2022, there was only one Honda in the EWC. Joining Viltaïs will allow us to aim for the manufacturers’ title as well. It’s a beautiful team that has shown great qualities, both in the preparation of the bikes and in the choice of its riders. They have a very professional working method and have been a very tough rival in recent years. So our choice was logically made on them.”
Jérémy Barada, CBO Racing, said: “It is an honour and a pleasure to join the EWC adventure with Viltaïs. CBO is a family business, passionate and which places the human being at the centre of its priorities. We therefore totally identify with the values of Viltaïs.”
Steven Neumann, Pirelli, said: “Between Yannick and me, there was a real professional crush. During our exchanges, we had the same vision. Then by discovering the team a little better, I completely agreed with the spirit of the team and of Viltaïs in general. It is therefore a great honour to be part of this project.”
The announcement of the association between Honda France and Viltaïs Racing came during a press conference at the headquarters of Viltaïs Racing in Moulins earlier this week. In addition to Yannick Lucot, Jacques Lahaye and Cyprien Bouju (Viltaïs), Bruno Skotnicki (Honda France), Jérémy Barada and Philippe De Sousa (CBO), Christophe Luino (Igol) and Steven Neumann (Pirelli) were all in attendance.
Viltaïs Racing claimed two French Endurance titles with Yamaha power in 2008 and 2009 and triumphed in the 12 Hours of Magny-Cours three years running. It also won the FIM Endurance World Cup in 2017. Meanwhile, Honda celebrated EWC success in 2022 when the F.C.C. TSR Honda France team won the 2022 FIM Endurance World Championship for Teams title.
Details of the Honda Viltaïs Racing riders will be announced in due course.