Fresh from its maiden Endurance World Championship victory at the Oschersleben 8 Hours, the Honda Racing team is aiming to end the season in style at the final round of the year, the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, which takes place this weekend.
Over the course of the season and despite some bad luck, the Honda Racing team and its line-up of endurance specialists, Julian Da Costa, Freddy Foray and Sebastien Gimbert, have proved to be serious competition. The team has consistently been the fastest permanent EWC squad in practice and qualifying, it led the Bol d’Or from the race start until the 21st hour and led the Oschersleben 8 Hours from the opening lap to the chequered flag to take its first EWC victory.
The win in Germany elevated Honda Racing to fourth in the championship standings, 37 points behind series leader Yamaha GMT94. The team heads to France hungry for success and determined to add the holy grail of a 24 Hours of Le Mans victory to its tally – and with a potential maximum of 55 points available thanks to the new bonus points structure, the fight for the 2014 EWC title is far from over.
Qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place on Thursday and Friday with the race due to begin at 15.00 CEST on Saturday 20 September. Live Twitter updates will be available via @HondaRacingCBR and live timing will be available via the FIM at http://live.fim-live.com
24 Hours of Le Mans schedule
Thursday 18 September
12.30 - 14.30 - Free Practice17.00 - 18.50 - Qualifying 1 (20 minutes per rider) 21.00 - 22.30 - Night Practice
Friday 19 September11.20 - 13.10 - Qualifying 2 (20 minutes per rider) 18.00 - 19.30 - Pit Walk
Saturday 20 September 10.30 - 11.15 - Warm Up 1500 - Race start
Sunday 21 September 1500 - Race ends
Neil Tuxworth - team manager
Neil Tuxworth At Oschersleben, we proved that we can win races. It has given everybody in the team a big boost and we are going to Le Mans in a very positive frame of mind. We know as well as any team that anything can happen in endurance racing so we’ll take each day – and each hour – as it comes, but we know what we are aiming for, and that’s our first 24-hour victory.Julien Da Costa
Julien Da Costa I am feeling really positive. We have been the fastest permanent EWC team at most rounds and now that we have won a race, we need to keep it that way! I have been on the podium at Le Mans many, many times, including three race wins, so I am definitely looking to continue that success. It’s one of my favourite tracks so to get the win there with Honda would be very special.Freddy Foray
Freddy Foray The win at Oschersleben was a very good thing for the whole team and we’re all feeling very positive going to Le Mans, but it’s a 24-hour race and anything can happen. Le Mans is quite a simple track but it’s difficult to be strong because the gaps between the riders are always close, but it is definitely a track I enjoy. I won the EWC race there in 2012 and I’d love to do it again.Sebastien Gimbert
Sebastien Gimbert It was so good to get the win at Oschersleben, not just for myself but for the whole team. Endurance is a team effort so when you win it is a win for everyone who has worked so hard in the year. It means we can go to Le Mans in a good mood and we will be aiming to win. Of course we must be realistic because we know that a 24-hour race is very difficult, but the championship is not over yet!