Just two months shy of the start of the 2014 FIM Endurance World Championship, and BMW Motorrad has announced that it will not be continuing support of Team Thevent, the Belgian racing outfit that has in the past run BMW’s EWC effort.
Despite finishing a disappointing 12th in the 2013 season, Team Prinicipal Michael Bartholemy said the decision from BMW came as a shock given they had been involved in ongoing negotiations with BMW Motorrad for the 2014 season.
“We were asked by BMW Motorrad at Le Mans if we would continue in 2014, to which our answer was a definite yes,” he said. “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.”
If the team had been a failure, the decision to back out may have been less confusing but during its three year run, Team Thevent racked up several victories and accomplishments, all while competing against teams with more experience and larger budgets.
During the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the BMW Motorrad backed team have won three races and finished second overall in the World Championship, including a third place podium finish at Le Mans, a first for any European manufacturer since the championship started 35 years ago.
Bartholemy stated that although the decision left a bitter taste in the Thevent’s mouth, as it scrambles to find another sponsor, the team has the equipement, the people, and the skills to be successful.
“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,” said Bartholemy.
“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.”
Source: Team Thevent