Honda Launches TT Legends Team in UK
|November 28, 2010 - Honda Motor Europe has launched an all-new motorcycle racing team for an assault on FIM Endurance World Championship and to contest selected road-race meetings, bridging the gap between the two disciplines.
The Honda TT Legends team will compete on the legendary Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade machinery in the 2011 FIM Endurance World Championship, together with world famous road-race meetings such as the Northwest 200 and the Isle of Man TT. Honda TT Legends encompasses the greatest endurance races in the world, on road and on track and represents a new challenge for 3 already very accomplished and extremely popular riders.
The team will comprise TT legend, John McGuinness – winner of no fewer than 15 races around the demanding Isle of Man TT course, and second only to former Honda hero, the late, great Joey Dunlop.
The Morcambe-based McGuinness, 38, is a former British 250cc champion and also has experience with Honda in the World Supersport championship. But it is for his remarkable exploits and consistency at the Isle of Man TT – including the first 130mph lap of the 37.73-mile (60.37km) Mountain Circuit – that he is most renowned.
McGuinness will be joined in the new Honda team by Steve Plater, who was British Supersport champion with Honda in 2009, to contest the full 2011 FIM Endurance World championship.
Plater also has a great deal of experience in Endurance World championship racing, including victory in the Albacete 6 Hour. The 40-year-old Englishman has also scored podium finishes at Le Mans, the Bol d’Or and competed at the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hour race in Japan.
The English duo will be joined by Scotsman Keith Amor for 24hr endurance races at Le Mans and the Bol d’Or. The 30-year-old Scot, who is a roads specialist, has two TT podiums, and a Northwest 200 victory to his name. Alongside McGuinness, he will also contest selected road races, under the banner of Honda TT Legends. However, Plater will concentrate solely on the FIM Endurance World Championship series.
The Honda TT Legends team will be run from Louth in Lincolnshire – the same UK base that operates Honda (UK)’s British Superbike championship team and managed by the experienced former TT and endurance racer, Neil Tuxworth.
John McGuinness, Honda TT Legends
I did the Le Mans 24 hr race about seven years ago, when we finished eighth. It was exciting at the end but pretty hard work in the middle! But I’m really looking forward to a full season. I was a little surprised when we first started talking about it but when Honda explained the thinking behind it, it floated my boat straight away. I’ve raced in a lot of classes over the years, and of course I’ll continue with the Northwest and the TT, but to be in a team capable of winning a world championship can’t be bad! I still get the buzz of anticipation and nerves jangling on the roads, and I certainly want to win more TTs before I finish. And I’m really excited about the idea of a British round of the Endurance World championship at Donington – we really want the British fans to get behind us and to give endurance racing more kudos in the UK. If everything goes to plan, we’ll be there or thereabouts – there is no reason why we can’t do the business!
Steve Plater, Honda TT Legends
I’ve been riding in the World Endurance championship for something like 12 years and finished runner-up twice so it’ll be good to go back there and win it with a good team! I won’t be doing any road racing next year – that’ll just be John and Keith – but I’ll still be involved with the team and helping wherever I can. I wanted to concentrate on the endurance side of things for 2011 and it’s great that Honda Motor Europe has come in to explore and this side of racing too.
Keith Amor, Honda TT Legends
It’s certainly going to be a challenge combining the roads with World Endurance racing, but I think it’ll be fun and I can’t wait to get going. There’ll be some new tracks to learn, and I’ve never done any endurance racing before so there’ll be a lot to take in. But I rode for Honda on the roads last year and there’s really no better team in the paddock. It’s a huge opportunity for me to be more involved with Honda and the TT Legends World Endurance team, and I’m really looking forward to it.
Neil Tuxworth, Team Manager, Honda TT Legends
The idea of this team came from Honda Motor Europe, who wanted to promote the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade in another class at world championship level. TT riders are older, more experienced and generally safer, which is what you want in endurance racing – you need to keep that little bit in reserve. The bikes will be different, too, for the roads and WEC, where reliability becomes an issue, as well as speed. We’re particularly excited about the British round at Donington, where there will be a real festival atmosphere.
Robert Watherston, Manager Motorcycle Sport, Honda Motor Europe
Great World Endurance events and great road race meetings hold the same sense of festival – big, one-off events which attract people not just to watch the racing but to enjoy the whole sense of occasion. The TT Legends name invites people to look back at Honda’s great heritage of road racing and put it in the context of the present. Honda’s main promotional asset has always been racing, going right back to that first race at the TT, and the first win, whose 50th anniversary we will celebrate next year. Racing the Fireblade is an important element of the team’s identity because of the unique heritage and iconic status of the machine in itself.