Friday, April 06, 2007

Le Mans: BMW Motorrad to return to endurance racing


The Le Mans 24 Hours on one of these? Yes!

After a half-century absence from top-level roadracing, BMW are ready to go back to the grid – at the 2007 24 Heures Moto at Le Mans, on the 21st of this month, a BMW Motorrad factory team will also be present alongside the usual suspects…

Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport will be entering the first Endurance World Championship race of the season with the HP2 Sport, a machine based on the BMW R1200S, which means they’ll be participating in the Open Class. And after Le Mans, Team BMW will also participate in the 24-hour races in Barcelona (7th/8th July), Oschersleben (11th/12th August) and Magny Cours (Bol d'Or, 15th/16th September).

For those who want BMW's Le Mans racer in their garage, BMW are also working on the production version of their racebike, which should be ready by the end of this year and which will probably go on sale in early-2008. Expect lots of carbonfibre and titanium (bringing wet weight down to 200kg) and around 130 horsepower from the twin-cylinder engine.

The rumour mill also says (agreeing with what we said back in September last year...) they are developing an all-new machine that will take on litre-class Japanese superbikes. BMW may launch this new bike by the end of this year, and they may race it in World Superbikes in 2009. The new bike is expected to have a four-cylinder engine, and a full range of cutting-edge electronics including traction control.

If you’re a BMW traditionalist and all this talk of racing and new high-performance bikes worries you, you actually have nothing to fear. BMW are also, supposedly, working on an all-new LT tourer which may be powered by an 1800cc straight-six! Don’t expect this machine to come out before 2010 though…

Also see:
Versatile: 2007 BMW G650 Xmoto series
Awesome: 2007 BMW HP2 Megamoto!
Practical: 2007 BMW K1200R Sport
Turbocharged: MAB BMW K1200R

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