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Sep 17, 2013

Yamaha Prepared For FIM Endurance World Championship Finale, The 24 Hours Of Le Mans

FIM Endurance World Championship: The Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube YZF-R1 (left) and the Monster Energy Yamaha YART YZF-R1 (right) racebikes.
Yamaha Prepare for World Endurance Title Showdown at 24 Heures Du Mans

The Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team and Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube Team arrive in France this week to set up for the legendary 24 Heures Du Mans race this weekend. The Yamaha Austria Team currently sit in second in the Championship standings, just 13 points behind the leaders with Yamaha France GMT in third, another 24 points behind.

Yamaha Austria, the 2009 World Endurance Champions and 2010 runners up will this year be joined by 2013 AMA Championship contender and American road racing icon Josh Hayes. The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha rider has an impressive three AMA Championship wins under his belt and has successfully competed as a wildcard for the Yamaha Tech3 team in the 2012 MotoGP Championship finale at Valencia. Hayes will be joined by World Supersport rider Sheridan Morais, and team up with regular riders Broc Parkers and Igor Jerman.

The Yamaha France GMT 94 team will see a rider line up including regular GMT Endurance stars David Checa, Kenny Foray and Matthieu Lagrive ready to do battle on their YZF-R1.

Mandy Kainz - Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Team Manager
"As the past has shown, the 24hr race is always a lottery. We won in 2009 so there is no reason why we can’t do it again this year. With Monster Energy and Yamaha we have been able to present a very strong team of riders for the race. We will put pressure on the Suzuki Endurance team from the first practice session. we have to make them nervous and force them into a mistake, under pressure they are quite prone to error."

Christophe Guiyot - Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube Team Manager
"We are ready for the Le Mans race. Our Yamaha R1 is very competitive and the Michelin tyres are fantastic. We have three excellent and experienced riders who have been very fast on track since the beginning of the season. We know that we can play for the victory. After missing out at the Bol d’Or where we finished fourth after losing 20 minutes to change the camshaft sensor and Oschersleben where we finished fifth after a big crash during the second lap of the race, the chance for victory is with us now."

The gruelling challenge of Le Mans makes it the toughest road race for motorcycles in the world with a team of handpicked riders taking it in turns to lap as quickly as possible over a 24HR period aboard a single race bike. Reliability and trust in the machine is essential and any possible mechanical issues need to be fixed quickly and cleverly to get the riders back on track as quickly as possible. They race through day and night in all weather conditions in the quest for victory.

Motorcycles entered into the World Endurance Championship are subjected to a strict set of rules on modifications. The Yamaha YZF-R1 raced by both teams is closely based on the R1 that can be purchased in any Yamaha dealership. Whilst some engine modifications are made to increase power it is less than is seen in the World Superbike Championship as reliability is a key issue and the bike needs to race for aprox 1500 kilometres with stops only to change tyres, add fuel and replace the rider. Teams are also allowed to strengthen the main frame, modify the braking system, exhaust and suspension units.

Both the Yamaha Austria and Yamaha France GMT 94 R1 machines have a little over 200 bhp. As the engine needs to run for so long at high speed modifications are also made to the cooling system and radiators to ensure temperatures are kept down.

To make the pit stops as quick and efficient as possible the fuel tanks are modified with a special filler system to allow quick refuelling and a quick-change system is in place for the wheels to get fresh rubber on in the minimum timeframe.

Further modifications can be made to the bodywork although the overall shape must still represent the same lines as the production machine. Unlike their World Superbike counterparts, the Endurance YZF-R1 carries headlights for night racing!
Yamaha France GMT 94 YZF-R1

The 24 Heures Moto at Le Mans will start at 1500hrs CET on Saturday 21st September, and finish at 1500hrs on Sunday 22nd September.