After a short summer break following an impressive sixth place finish at the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours in July, the YART Yamaha EWC Team are already gearing up for a return to action at the Bol d’Or on 21 and 22 September. Second in last year’s race, the team will field a revised rider line-up for the opening round of the 2019/2020 FIM Endurance World Championship at Le Castellet, with Loris Baz replacing Broc Parkes, who will be racing for Yamaha in the penultimate round of the Asia Road Racing Championship the same weekend.
Baz will ride alongside YART Yamaha regulars, and experienced endurance racers, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa, but the Frenchman is no stranger to either endurance racing or the YART Yamaha squad. Baz was a winner of the Bol d’Or back in 2013, when the race was held at Magny-Cours, and he also raced alongside Steve Martin and Igor Jerman in the YART Yamaha Team in the 2011 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the trio finishing on the podium in third place.
Having made an immediate impact on his return to the FIM Superbike World Championship with the Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK earlier this season, Baz is looking forward to reacquainting himself with the YART Yamaha EWC specification YZF-R1 during a two-day test ahead of the Bol d’Or, which takes place on 3 and 4 September at Le Castellet.
I’m really happy to be making a return to endurance racing with YART Yamaha at the Bol d’Or. It wasn’t on the plan, but I’ve always loved EWC, I have some really great memories from racing there and I have a good relationship with Mandy and the Yamaha guys so, when they called and my Ten Kate Yamaha team agreed that I could do it then of course I said yes. It will make September a tough month, but I’ve been training hard over the summer, so it won’t be a problem. I’m happy to be back with Mandy; I always call him Daddy, because he was one of the few people to give young riders the opportunity to race in EWC, including 18-year-old me back in 2011. We finished on the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans back then and it will be good to return to YART Yamaha for the Bol d’Or, where the aim has to be to secure the win for Yamaha with Niccolò and Marvin.
We’ve known Loris since he was a kid, and he did his first ever endurance race with us back in 2011 aged just 18. He was so young for an endurance racer that we always called him the baby and, to be honest, we still do. Loris did a fantastic job for us that season, before moving to WorldSBK the following year. Since then he’s always maintained his interest in endurance racing and he has kept in touch with the team, so he was the first rider we spoke to when we needed a replacement for Broc. I would like to say a big thank you to the Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK team for allowing him to race for us, in what is already a busy month. The Bol d’Or remains the only European EWC race that we haven’t won. We’ve come close on a number of occasions, including last year when we were second by just 54 seconds, but the top step of the podium has so far eluded us. With Loris, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa we have an incredibly strong rider line-up and we head into this year’s race determined to complete the full set with victory at the Bol d’Or.