Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ilmor MotoGP team shuts shop

You won't be seeing this bike in Spain next week... :-(

The Ilmor MotoGP team has ceased operations, possibly due to a lack of sponsorship money. The UK-based Ilmor, who've been in MotoGP since the 2006 Portuguese GP, have reportedly been losing large sums of money running their MotoGP outfit. With their exit, Ilmor riders Jeremy McWilliams and Andrew Pitt are left without a ride for the 2007 MotoGP season.

Mario Ilien, Ilmor team boss says, "Obviously it was an extremely difficult decision for us to make. However, once we went through all the options, we decided that the best course of action for the sake of the project as a whole, would be to put the racing side of things on hold."

Mario Illien, one of the founders of Ilmor Engineering, and of the most respected engineers in F1, reportedly spent anywhere between US$6-9 million of his own money on the Ilmor MotoGP project. Another UK-based automotive engineering company, Cosworth had worked with the Aprilia MotoGP team between 2002 to 2004, with little success. Last year, when asked about why he thought Ilmor may succeed where Cosworth-Aprilia had failed, Illien had said 'Other teams like Team Roberts, Aprilia and KTM have mistakenly used too much F1 technology on their bikes. We haven’t. We know that a successful four-stroke bike engine is all about driveability and bottom-end power.'

Well, the ways things are now, it looks like if sponsorship money comes in, Ilmor may continue developing their MotoGP racebike. If not, things look bleak for them. What a pity...

Also see:
Top Fuel Motorcycles: A lesson in acceleration!
Motoczysz C1: Motogp replica for the road
Bikes vs Cars: Settled!
Classic Bikes: The first Suzuki Katana

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