The fight for the 2012 Endurance World Championship title will reach its climax this weekend at the final round of the yearthe 35th edition of the prestigious 24 Heures du Mans in France.
The Honda TT Legends have had a successful and consistent season, being one of only two permanent EWC teams to complete every race on the calendar so far. The achievement places them joint second with BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent in the overall standings, 19 points behind championship leaders SERT, and with 40 points awarded for the race victory at Le Mans, the battle is far from over.
Honda TT Legends regulars John McGuinness and Cameron Donald will be joined at Le Mans by French rider Mathieu Gins, who will stand in for Simon Andrews. Andrews is still recovering from injuries sustained at the Isle of Man TT earlier this year and although he is not fit enough to race, he will join the team in Le Mans as reserve rider.
Gins is currently competing in the French Superbike Championship with Tecmas Honda and is no stranger to EWC, having raced for the championship-winning Superstock team in 2011. His expertise of both the endurance discipline and the Le Mans circuit will provide the Honda TT Legends with an additional boost as the fight for the 2012 EWC title goes down to the wire.
Neil Tuxworthteam manager The whole team is looking forward to the Le Mans 24-hour race, an iconic event to end the 2012 season. We have had an excellent year and we currently lie second in the championship, which is in line with our objective to finish inside the top three. We are obviously aiming to maintain that at Le Mans, and with some luck on our side, we could actually be in with a chance of winning the championship overall. Rider-wise, it is disappointing that Simon is not fit enough to race but he will be coming to Le Mans with the team. While his replacement Mathieu Gins is not a TT rider, he is certainly a Le Mans expert, which should help the strength of our team for this race. In addition, John and Cameron both attended the Le Mans test two weeks ago so the circuit is fresh in their minds and we are ready to go.
John McGuinness The team has worked so hard all yearweve been pushing as much as we can and scored points at every race so far. Mathematically we are in a position to win the championship, we may need a bit of luck for that to happen but stranger things have happened in racing! Either way, we are in a great position in only our second year in EWC and we can certainly be proud of our achievements. Weve got three good riders for Le Mans and without doubt well be riding as hard as we can from 3pm to 3pm so lets see what happens.
Cameron Donald Here we are at the final round already and what a weekend we have ahead. It is without doubt the biggest endurance race of the year for me - 24 hours around the famous Le Mans circuit against so many teams and riders with years of experience at this event. We sit second in the championship at the moment and with 24 hours of racing ahead, anything can happen. It will be a case of staying fast but out of trouble as we work towards a strong finish. I rode my first ever 24 hour race at Le Mans last year and I can still remember the satisfaction of our finish. This year, I'm hoping for the result we have been trying so hard for all year. Now I'm counting the hours until I get back on board the TT Legends Honda Fireblade when practice begins on Thursday.
Mathieu GinsThe opportunity to ride for the Honda TT Legends is a dream come true for me. I am really exited about the race and I intend to work as hard as I can during the 24-hours to show Honda and the team my appreciation. I tested with the team a couple of weeks ago and the atmosphere amongst the crew is brilliant. I was made to feel very welcome. The other riders were great and I have a huge amount of respect for their talent and what they do at the Isle of Man TT. I am honoured to share a bike with them during the race. I really hope that luck will be with us and we can finish the race, and why not in the first place?
The race will be streamed live on the FIM YouTube channel from 15.00 (Central European Time) on Saturday 8 September.