Eight months after victory in the final round of the 2019/2020 season in Estoril, Niccolò Canepa, Karel Hanika, and Marvin Fritz are raring to get their 2021 season underway as the series returns to the iconic Bugatti Circuit in north-western France this weekend.
Coming off the back of a promising pre-season in which the Austrian-based squad further improved the set-up of their R1, the official Yamaha EWC team will be aiming for nothing less than a podium finish when the flag falls at the end of the weekend’s gruelling 24-hour event. The trio enjoyed a positive Le Mans last year, topping the practice sessions and claiming pole position but a challenging race, hampered with changeable conditions, saw the team fight back to fourth after a difficult start.
The team has completed a series of positive pre-season tests in Le Mans, Estoril, Valencia and Brno and are quietly confident ahead of the new season after making gains with the electronics of the number seven R1.
The Bugatti Circuit, located in Le Mans, France, was constructed in 1965 and featured on the World Endurance calendar for the first time in 1978. At 4.185km in length, Le Mans is the third-longest circuit on the 2021 calendar but by far one of the toughest. Unpredictable weather conditions, as well as a mixture of low, medium and high speed corners, heavy braking zones, elevation changes and fast changes of direction, makes the 24-hour race one of the most demanding races on the calendar.
The Wójcik Racing Team are also in high spirits ahead of the upcoming season. Two podiums in 2020 rewarded them with a fourth-place finish in the overall standings. Adam Stepien’s team will field the experienced Gino Rea, 36-year-old Sheridan Morais and the 2019 World Supersport Champion, Randy Krummenacher, giving the team an ultra-strong and crucially an experienced rider line-up for 2021.
The Moto Ain team will compete in the Formula EWC class after taking back-to-back championships in the FIM Endurance World Cup. Team principal Pierre Chapuis has chosen former 250cc and Moto2 Grand Prix race winner Roberto Rolfo, Swiss rider Robin Mulhauser and French veteran and MotoGP podium finisher Randy de Puniet.
Wójcik Racing Team 2 finished as the second-highest Yamaha in 2020’s FIM Endurance World Cup with a fourth-place finish overall. The Polish junior team will field Marek Szkopek, Christoffer Bergman, Michal Filla and Arture Wielebski in a bid to fight for the World Cup crown.
The event gets underway with private practice sessions on Tuesday ahead of Qualifying commencing on Thursday at 16:00 local time, before a night practice session. The second and final Qualifying session concludes on Friday before the lights go out for another edition of the prestigious Le Mans 24 Heures Motos at noon on Saturday.