With the race set to take place from July 26th – 29th at the legendary Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture, Japan, the Yamaha Factory Racing Team will return to challenge for a record-breaking fourth consecutive Suzuka victory.
They will be contesting alongside the Endurance World Championship (EWC) regulars: the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team and the defending EWC Champions, the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team.
Making a sensational debut in 1998, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the YZF-R1 production superbike, and to highlight the occasion the race bikes for all three teams will sport a special red-white livery. The colour scheme is adorned with the iconic “YZF” and “R1” logos of the first-generation R1, as well as a special commemorative 20th anniversary logo. As Yamaha seeks an unprecedented four consecutive wins as well as a second back-to-back EWC title, the slogan for this year‘s Suzuka 8 Hours is “R1evolution: The “R” Evolution Sparking a Revolution”.
The Yamaha Factory Racing Team that secured Yamaha‘s first-ever hat trick of wins at the 8 Hours will once again feature Japanese racing legend Katsuyuki Nakasuga and World Superbike stars Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark. The team will again be led by Wataru Yoshikawa, the manager of Yamaha‘s factory team in the All Japan Road Race Championship.
Riding for the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team, in their quest for a second straight title, are endurance racing specialist David Checa, former Moto2 and MotoGP rider Mike Di Meglio and 2017 EWC Riders Champion Niccolò Canepa. The French team is currently second in the standings, with just a 10-point margin to first thanks to a fantastic win at the Bol d‘Or, a second place at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring, and a third at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben.
The YART Yamaha Official EWC Team‘s roster to handle pre-race tests and the gruelling eight-hour race features long-time veteran Broc Parkes, 2016 German IDM Superbike Champion Marvin Fritz, former World Superbike racer Max Neukirchner and young Japanese superbike racer Takuya Fujita. Despite some unlucky DNFs, their win at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring puts them 13th in the standings before the race in Suzuka.
Photos: Yamaha Motor Racing Srl