Honda Racing is back for another season in the Endurance World Championship, replacing the OEM’s lineup of “TT Legends” is a group of French endurance specialists — tipping Honda’s hand to make a serious bid for the Championship title.
Gearing up for the EWC’s first round this weekend, the Bol d’Or at Magny-Course, Julien Da Costa, Freddy Foray, and Sebastien Gimbert will be riding the 2014 Honda CBR1000RR SP.
The trio have a bevy of EWC experience under their belts, and HRC seems to finally have its logistics and team sorted out for EWC duty. Endurance fans, expect to see strong results from Honda this year.
Unless you’re French motorbiker or a die hard EWC fan (we imagine the Venn diagram of those two groups have substantial overlap), you probably haven’t heard of Da Costa, Foray, and Gimbert, so here’s a primer on these impressive lads:
Julien Da Costa was the lead man at the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT), and was part of the 2013 EWC winning squad. He has three EWC titles under his belt, with three races wins at Le Mans and two race wins at the Bol d’Or. Being 32-years-of-age hasn’t slowed Da Costa down either — he was the 2012 French Superbike Championship.
Freddy Forary was poached off the Yamaha France GMT94 Michelin team, and is a two-time EWC Champion. The 29-year-old has some serious seat time on the Honda CBR1000RR though, as Foray raced with HRC in the 2013 German IDM series, as well as the final two rounds of the 2013 British Superbike season.
Sebastien Gimbert also has a history with Honda, as the Frenchman raced for official Honda teams from 1995-2001. The 36-year-old secured a EWC title in 2004, and has placed second overall in the Championship in the past two years. Gimbert is also a double French Superbike Champion.
“We’re very pleased to reveal Honda’s 2014 plans for the Endurance World Championship and announce the new team with Julien, Freddy and Sebastien on board. Over the last three years we have developed a solid foundation and secured consistent results – it’s now time to up our game and sharpen our attack on the 2014 title,” said Robert Watherston, Head of Motorsport at Honda Motor Europe.
“The level of competition in EWC is incredibly high and the new direction for the team ensures that we have all the right elements in place to increase our chances of success in the championship. With three proven endurance specialists in the line-up I’m confident that Honda can once again see its name on the Endurance World Championship trophy.”
Source: Honda Racing Europe