Suzuka 8-hour set to challenge the Honda TT Legends
Following a successful campaign on familiar turf at the Isle of Man TT, the Honda TT Legends team heads to virgin territory this week as the 2011 Endurance World Championship resumes with the Suzuka 8-hour race in Japan.
TT regulars and road racing experts John McGuinness, Keith Amor and Cameron Donald will compete for the Honda TT Legends Ė with Donald standing in for injured Steve Plater. Only five other permanent EWC teams will take part in the notoriously difficult race, with 46 specialist Japanese teams making up the rest of the field Ė each one with their sights set firmly on victory.
It will be the first time that any of the Honda TT Legends riders have taken part in the Suzuka 8-hour and while they are well aware of the tough task ahead, they are looking forward to the challenge.
Iím really excited but I am also really nervous about the whole job. Iíve raced all over the world but Iíve never raced in Japan so itís completely new territory for me. By all accounts Suzuka is an amazing race and itís great to get the chance to take part. Weíre up against some of the most experienced teams in endurance, but Iím really pumped up for it. Iíve heard horror stories about the heat and the humidity but you canít worry about it until you get there. Itís a suck it and see situation but Iím sure it will be a brilliant experience whatever the outcome.
I am really honoured to get the chance to race in such a classic event Ė that is a massive thing in itself. Having said that, if Iím being completely honest I am incredibly nervous. I know that a lot of riders struggle with the heat and the conditions, even riders that are used to doing it, so I am apprehensive, scared, excited Ė everything rolled into one. We are not going into this race with any big expectations, I think we just have to enjoy the experience and the overall event and see what happens.
The Suzuka 8-hour is a something I have dreamed of doing since I was a kid so to get the chance to take part with the Honda TT Legends is incredible. Itís going to be a big challenge to go up against the regular teams from Japan as well as the other EWC teams, but I am just so excited about the opportunity. I canít wait to get out there and see what we can do.
Neil Tuxworth Ė Team Manager
Without a doubt this is going to be the most difficult EWC event of the year. None of the riders have ridden the circuit before and we will be up against specialist Japanese teams and riders who have raced here many times before. In fact, the majority of teams taking part are Japanese and some of those have factory support. It is also very humid and we donít have any data to work with. Having said all that, we are very positive and we are really looking forward to the experience. We have no great expectations. Our objective is to finish inside the top ten, which will be very hard and if we can do that weíll be happy.
The 8-hour race will take place on Sunday 31 July, starting at 10.30am Japan Standard Time, 02.30am British Summer Time and 03.30am Central European Summer Time. For real-time news, videos and images throughout the event follow @HondaTTLegends on Twitter and for post-qualifying and race reports visit www.HondaTTLegends.com
For live timing please visit www.fim-live.com or www.suzukacircuit.jp/result_s/2011/8tai/
Suzuka 8-hour event schedule (in Japan Standard Time)
Thursday 28 July
13:30-14:30 Free Practice 1
15:40-16:40 Free Practice 2
Friday 29 July
09:00-10:00 Free Practice
11:00-11:30 Timed Qualifying 1st Rider
11:45-12:15 Timed Qualifying 2nd Rider
12:30-13:00 Timed Qualifying 3rd Rider
15:15-15:45 Timed Qualifying 1st Rider
16:00-16:30 Timed Qualifying 2nd Rider
16:45-17:15 Timed Qualifying 3rd Rider
Saturday 30 July
14:15-15:00 Free Practice
15:30-16:45 Top 10 Trials
Sunday 31 July
08:00-08:30 Warm Up
09:50-10:30 Starting Procedure
10:30-18:30 8 Hours Endurance Race
For full updates following qualifying sessions and the race, please visit www.hondattlegends.com