Record number of competing teams
This season, 33 teams will be competing from start to finish in the 2017-2018 FIM EWC championship. The line-up of teams under contract in the Formula EWC and Superstock classes notably features five factory squads, with backing from Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki, and nineteen private teams from around the world. Their first face-off on the track will take place on 16 and 17 September, at the Bol d’Or on the Paul Ricard circuit.
Of the teams competing in the entire 2017-2018 FIM EWC (except for the Suzuka 8 Hours, which they have no obligation to race), nineteen are entered in the Formula EWC class, and fourteen in Superstock. They will all be in Castellet next week for the opening round of the 2017-2018 FIM EWC.
This season’s teams represent twelve different countries (seventeen considering the riders’ nationalities): France, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, some Central European countries, the U.S., Australia and Colombia. This diversity only goes to show that the FIM EWC is becoming increasingly international.
There will be five factory-backed teams at the race start: French squads GMT94 Yamaha (the 2016-2017 FIM EWC world champion) and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team; Austrian team YART Yamaha, Japanese squad F.C.C. TSR Honda France, and British team Honda Endurance Racing.
Twelve new teams on the grid
There will be several newcomers too. Twelve teams with varying degrees of experience and ambition have signed up for the first time to compete in the full championship.
Belgian team Mototech EWC Team (Honda) made some initial forays into the championship last season. “This is our first full season; a whole new year for our team to learn and improve, says Mototech team manager David Drieghe. Our aim is to get up to speed and be competitive as fast as possible. But we’re only a small Belgian team, and our biggest challenge is raising the funds needed.”
Zuff Racing Team, a young Swiss squad, debuted at the 2015 Bol d’Or. The 6th Superstock past the finish line at the 24 Heures Motos in 2017, this season Zuff Racing Team is racing the entire championship in the Supesrtock class on a Honda. “Racing one or two rounds whets your appetite, confesses rider Kevin Zufferey, who is also the team manager of Zuff Racing Team. It was our dream to enter the entire championship, but until now our budget didn’t stretch that far. Our goal is to get good enough to move up into the EWC class and become a permanent team, like Bolliger Team, and find ourselves some very fast Swiss riders.”
French team RAC41 Honda already has a solid track record. Created in 1999 by Arnaud Larose, RAC41 finished 3rd at the 24 Heures Motos and 4th at the Bol d’Or in 2010. After entering the races on French soil these past few seasons, RAC41 Honda has now signed up for a full season in the Superstock class. “We’re looking to chase a podium in our category, says RAC41 Honda team manager Ludovic Rezé. We’re driven by our thirst for competition and a desire to get ahead, especially with Eurosport bumping up the visibility of motorcycle sports in the media.”
Teams competing in the 2017-2018 FIM EWC