Eupen, Belgium – 24 January 2014: The distinctive #99 BMW S1000RR of Team Thevent will not contest the Endurance World Championship in 2014, following a late decision by BMW Motorrad to end their involvement in the series.
BMW’s decision to curtail their involvement in the Endurance World Championship came as something of a surprise to Team Thevent, who had been negotiating in good faith for the 2014 season after BMW Motorrad made a commitment to continue following the final round of the 2013 season at Le Mans.
The decision by BMW Motorrad brings to a close a successful three-year foray into the Endurance World Championship for Team Thevent and for BMW. In both 2011 and 2012 Team Thevent won three races to finish second in the World Championship standings, ahead of teams with years of experience in endurance racing.
In 2012 at Le Mans, the biggest race on the Endurance World Championship calendar, the team secured a third place finish with the BMW S1000RR, the first time a European manufacturer has been represented on the podium in the event’s 35 year history.
“To say this decision by BMW was something of a surprise would be an understatement,” explains Team Principal, Michael Bartholemy. “We were asked by BMW Motorrad at Le Mans if we would continue in 2014, to which our answer was a definite yes. In November I flew to BMW, again presented our proposal and the response was positive.”
“Since then we have been negotiating in good faith, with BMW, with riders and with Pirelli while BMW clarified internally some technical issues with the bike we would race in 2014. Finally the budget was agreed with BMW, but just 24 hours later we got a call from them saying that they were sorry, but there was no budget and they weren’t going racing.”
“It’s disappointing and it leaves something of a bitter taste, as I think our results show that we’ve done a good job for BMW, against far more experienced rivals and with a budget far lower than the rumours in the paddock would have people believe.”
“It also puts us in a very difficult position, as we have riders under contract, a deal with Pirelli and everything else in place to race, including five permanent members of staff and all the specialist equipment that endurance racing demands.”
“Our only hope of racing in 2014 lies with another manufacturer. We have the people, we have the equipment and, as our results over the past three years show, we have what it takes as a team to win races. However, what we don’t have is time. With the decision from BMW coming so close to the start of the season, it leaves us little time to forge a partnership with another manufacturer.”
“We still have one option to explore, but we’re fast running out of time. It may be that we have to sit out the 2014 season, before returning to the Endurance World Championship in 2015,” concluded Bartholemy.