13:51 PM

Bol d’Or hosts new FIM EWC season opener

  • GMT94 Yamaha begins defending World Championship
  • 29 of 59 teams have chosen Dunlop tyres
  • 23 teams registered for Dunlop Independent Trophy

The Bol d’Or opens the 2017/18 FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) – the first of five events on the new-season calendar. This is the second year with the ‘autumn to summer’ format which again sees the Suzuka 8 Hours as the season finale. Before the final flag drops in July 2018, the teams will contest 72 hours of racing.

Less than two months after being crowned champions, GMT94 Yamaha will begin defending their title at the Paul Ricard circuit on 16th/17th September. The track in southern France is hosting the 81st Bol d’Or.

Again, half of the 59 bike grid have chosen to compete on Dunlop tyres. 30 teams in total are hoping to wear the iconic yellow caps on the podiums throughout the season. At the Bol d’Or, 10 Dunlop teams will be racing in the top class, the Endurance World Championship, with a further 19 competing on Superstock machines for the Endurance World Cup.

Regulations are largely the same as last season, but the break has seen changes in rider line-ups. While the GMT94 Yamaha are maintaining their title-winning Checa/Canepa/Di Meglio trio, Dunlop’s other two factory teams have made changes. Gregg Black has joined Vincent Philippe and Etienne Masson at the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, while Honda Endurance Racing’s line-up is now Sebastien Gimbert, Gregory Leblanc and Yonny Hernandez. In the Superstock class, two former Dunlop Moto riders are riding for the Ecurie Chrono Sport team; Louis Rossi and Alexis Masbou having gained a total of 123 Moto2 and Moto3 starts between them, all on Dunlop tyres.

Dunlop Independents Trophy

Dunlop and Eurosport continue to invest in the independent teams which form the backbone of the championship. The cash prize fund encourages teams to compete in the iconic races including the Bol d’Or, Suzuka and Le Mans. For season three of the Dunlop Independent Trophy, the goal is to have at least 25 teams competing for the full season.

Dunlop tyres at the Bol d’Or

Tyre restriction regulations remain the same, with 45 tyres available for EWC and 27 tyres for Superstock for qualifying, practice sessions 1 and 2 and the race. Tyre use is unlimited for free practice and night practice and in wet weather conditions.

Private teams will be using two different compounds of the 120/70 R 17 KR106 front tyre (medium/hard and hard) with a choice of 4 compounds (soft, medium, medium/hard and hard) for the 205/60 R 17 KR108 rears. Factory supported teams will have two front tyre options and five rear compounds to choose from. EWC teams are likely to double-stint the front tyre and single stint the rear tyre while Superstock teams (with a longer wheel change procedure) will generally have a four stint strategy on the front tyres and two stints on the rear. 

The Bol d’Or race begins at 15.00 CEST on Saturday 16th September.

The full entry list can be found at fimewc.com.