Dunlop to begin EWC title defence with 24 Heures Motos
- 31 teams on Dunlop tyres for Le Mans 24 Hours race
- Kawasaki and BMW factory teams amongst key challengers
- Dunlop begins EWC season as defending champion
This weekend marks the start of the 2021 FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) season, where Dunlop will begin its championship defence at the 24 Heures Motos. With 31 teams racing with Dunlop tyres in this most competitive of endurance challenges, an exciting race - and season - lie ahead.
Having been delayed from its planned April date due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 24 Heures Motos, held on the Le Mans Bugatti Circuit, begins the four-race EWC schedule on Saturday and Sunday, 12-13 June. Over half of the field will race on Dunlop tyres, including six bikes in the top Formula EWC class.
Key teams fighting for outright victory
Two Dunlop teams to watch are BMW World Endurance Team, which was a frontrunner with Dunlop last season, and 2018-19 champion Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar, which has switched to Dunlop tyres for the 2021 campaign. Both teams will be fighting for the EWC championship and a historic 24 Heures Motos victory. In testing at Le Mans in March, BMW World Endurance Team shattered the lap record, using Dunlop tyres to set a best time of 1:35.133.
Four Yamaha YZF-R1s from teams including Wojcik Racing Team, Team Viltaïs and Moto Ain complete Dunlop’s top class challengers. They’re joined by 27 entries in the Superstock category, including teams running Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda, BMW and Aprilia bikes. Dunlop bikes to watch out for include Wojcik Racing Team’s second Yamaha, the No Limits Racing Team Suzuki, and Dunlop newcomer Team 33 Louit April Moto’s Kawasaki.
David Auerbacher is Dunlop’s new Event Leader for EWC and is looking forward to the season ahead: “We were world champion last year so our aim is to retain the title with one of our top-level teams. With all the preparation we’ve put into the championship and the work with our teams during the off-season, I sincerely think we have what it takes but it’s endurance racing so many things can happen. Our main objective is to be champions after the Suzuka 8 Hours in November. For this weekend, our goal is to win the race. We have very strong teams with BMW and Kawasaki, as well as the Yamaha teams like Wojcik and former Superstock champion Moto Ain.”
As in previous seasons, Dunlop will provide teams with a combination of standard KR and development tyres. The KR series of slicks, including the KR106 and KR109 fronts with the KR108 rear, are proven race-winners but select top-level teams will also have the opportunity to race with development tyres, which will go on to inform the next generation of Dunlop road and track tyres. The EWC Dunlop Independent Trophy is also continuing this year, awarding prize money to support independent privateer teams racing on the world stage.
Free Practice and Qualifying will take place on Thursday and Friday, including a Night Practice session on Thursday evening to prepare teams for the challenges of the race, which will take the green flag at 12:00 local time on Saturday, 12 June. After Le Mans, the EWC season will be made up of the 12 Hours of Estoril, Bol d’Or and Suzuka 8 Hours.
Dunlop Europe is one of the world's leading manufacturers of motorcycle tyres with an impressive track record of motorsport successes. Dunlop Europe is a technical partner of leading Endurance World Championship teams, the official tyre supplier to the FIM Moto2 and Moto3 World Championships and the most successful tyre brand in the history of the Isle of Man TT. Off-road, Dunlop is the choice of MXGP race winners and champions.