BMW pull factory support from endurance squad

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Official BMW world endurance squad Team Thevent look likely to sit out the 2014 season, after an eleventh hour withdrawal of support from the German manufacturer despite previous commitments to continue the successful partnership.

Team Thevent, run by the same team behind the MarcVDS Moto2 team that took Scott Redding to second in the 2013 championship, had a year of ups and downs in 2013, running highly in all four races of the series yet only finishing one, the Oschersleben 8hrs, where they collected a podium finish in 2nd.

Team principal Michael Bartholemy: “To say this decision by BMW was something of a surprise would be an understatement. We were asked by BMW Motorrad at Le Mans if we would continue in 2014, to which our answer was a definite yes. In November I flew to BMW, again presented our proposal and the response was positive.”

“Since then we have been negotiating in good faith, with BMW, with riders and with Pirelli while BMW clarified internally some technical issues with the bike we would race in 2014. Finally the budget was agreed with BMW, but just 24 hours later we got a call from them saying that they were sorry, but there was no budget and they weren’t going racing.”

“It’s disappointing and it leaves something of a bitter taste, as I think our results show that we’ve done a good job for BMW, against far more experienced rivals and with a budget far lower than the rumours in the paddock would have people believe.”

“It also puts us in a very difficult position, as we have riders under contract, a deal with Pirelli and everything else in place to race, including five permanent members of staff and all the specialist equipment that endurance racing demands.”

“Our only hope of racing in 2014 lies with another manufacturer. We have the people, we have the equipment and, as our results over the past three years show, we have what it takes as a team to win races. However, what we don’t have is time. With the decision from BMW coming so close to the start of the season, it leaves us little time to forge a partnership with another manufacturer.”

“We still have one option to explore, but we’re fast running out of time. It may be that we have to sit out the 2014 season, before returning to the Endurance World Championship in 2015.”

The Endurance World Championship kicks off with the Bol d’Or 24 race at Magny-Cours on 25th and 26th April.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer