In September 2023, the iconic Bol d’Or race, Round 4 of the Endurance World Championship (EWC), was held. The Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team finished 4th, and in doing so secured the 2023 EWC title, which was the team’s first since 2009 and Yamaha’s first since 2017 when the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team won it.

The 2023 season saw YART take 2nd in the season opener, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. They then went on to win the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium, which was the team’s first win since the 12 Hours of Estoril in 2020 and its first 24-hour victory in 14 years. The win brought them to the top of the overall standings by a single point.

The next round was the Suzuka 8 Hours in Japan, where the team suffered an issue early in the race that dropped them back to 43rd, but a strong fight back to 23rd (later changed to 22nd due to another team’s disqualification) at the checkers secured much-needed points, putting YART 2nd overall, 13 points behind leader F.C.C. TSR Honda France coming into the final round of the season.

In the fourth and final race of the season, the Bol d’Or, YART’s main title rivals had retired by the midway point, making it essentially a one-on-one battle with Yoshimura SERT Motul for the win. As YART already had an ample points lead over SERT, their strategy was to stay as close as possible without pushing too hard, instead riding at a controlled pace to bring the bike home. The strategy worked well as they stayed in 2nd until the 16-hour mark.

When their machine began to show signs of overheating, the team took action to resolve it, then carried out thorough checks at every pit stop to prevent any further issues before finishing 4th with 705 laps completed. The result was a total of 181 points for the season, placing YART 20 points ahead of the nearest challenger and securing the 2023 EWC title.


Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team

Karel Hanika
“It is an amazing feeling to be the Endurance World Champions. I want to thank Mandy for bringing me into the YART setup in 2020. I am really grateful to him, Bridgestone, and the whole Yamaha family for letting me be a part of this team. I also want to thank my amazing teammates who worked hard during the winter and at all the tests to improve the bike. They always ride 100% in every stint, and I think we deserved to be champions the last two seasons, but it was just not meant to be. Finally, this year, it has come for us, and I could not be happier to be a part of this wonderful team. The race was really tough. We had a great battle with SERT, but they were very strong, especially on the Mistral Straight. Then, we decided to try and secure second until we had the overheating problem, but the team did an incredible job to fix that issue, and I am proud we could bring the bike to the finish line.”

Niccolò Canepa
“This feels incredible. Since we first started racing together, our goal has been to win the world championship. So, in every race and every stint, as soon as we put our helmet on and ride the bike, this was the only goal in our heads. Every time, we push to the limit to achieve this. Also, when we have been in a comfortable position, we know that in endurance, there can be a problem just around the corner, so instead of settling, we always try and push to prevent any problem and to put ourselves in the best position to try and win the race. It is this attitude and desire that has allowed us to bring home this amazing medal. The race was hard; we had a great start, but the Safety car negated any benefit we got, and then we had to fight every lap. When we started having the overheating issue, it was a big concern, but the team did an incredible job of fixing the problem. Thanks to the efforts of the whole team, we are Endurance World Champions…and it feels good.”

Marvin Fritz
“It was the toughest race of the season because we knew what was on the line. To achieve our dream of winning the world championship is a dream come true. We faced a lot of challenges during the race. At the start, we made a great decision to go with the slicks, and Niccolò rode superbly, but then the safety car robbed us of the lead. When we started to have the overheating issue, the last seven hours were the longest of our lives, but the team did an amazing job of diagnosing the issue, and in the last two and a half hours, the bike was perfect again. I want to say a big thank you to Mandy for believing in me and all of us. Every single member of the team deserves this world championship title; they worked so hard all year. I cannot imagine having better teammates, and honestly, after coming so close before, this is an extraordinary feeling.”

Robin Mulhauser
“What a crazy race! I have been a part of the team for two years now, and honestly, we have been so close before, but it always seemed that bad luck was on our side. Finally, the planets aligned this year, and we are world champions. Although saying that, it was a tough race for the guys, especially after they opened up a lap gap at the start, only to have it wiped out. It would have been easy to think it is not our year again. But the whole team's attitude is amazing, and they never gave up. I am so happy for my teammates. Obviously, I didn’t ride in the race, but the whole team feels like a big family, and I am so happy to play my part in helping to set up the bike and test parts. It feels amazing to be a part of the YART team and the Yamaha family, and we will enjoy this moment.”

Mandy Kainz: Team Manager
“What can I say? This is a very special feeling. We have come so close many times, but something always happened. We even lost one championship in the last hour of the final race. So, finally achieving what we have been aiming for is very special. This was a tough race for us, as our bike appeared much slower than the others. We had to try and be conservative to ensure our bike survived because this circuit is so hard on engines, but this meant we were losing out by 30kph to some bikes on the straight, which equates to 0.6-0.7s every lap. We did this to ensure we could finish the race, as there is no real way to test for a 24-hour race, especially for the Bol d’Or, as the race itself is the test. I am so happy for our riders. They have been leading in every single round this year. At Le Mans, we had a problem where we crashed on some oil. Spa was the perfect race for us, even with some issues. We showed such a good pace in Suzuka, but a very minor technical issue meant we missed out on a dream podium. I was so proud of the riders in Japan, as we were close to retiring, but the boys did not give up and fought back from last position to 22nd. We even managed to claw back one and a half laps on the leaders after our issue. So, for me, our guys are the real heroes and true endurance riders. They always show such amazing fighting spirit, bravery, and determination, and they really deserve it. This championship means a lot to us all, and the whole team has worked so hard, so we will enjoy this feeling and then start thinking about next year and how we can defend our title.”

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