Suzuki withdraws from the most successful project in World Endurance history

Suzuki withdraws from the most successful project in World Endurance history 1

FIM Endurance World Championship Super Team – Yoshimura SERT (Suzuki Endurance Racing Team), based in Le Mans, France, has received official notice from Suzuki to withdraw from the project at the end of the 2022 season.

It appears to be the final stop for Suzuki as a competitor in the world racing championships: the Japanese company has not limited its decision to exit MotoGP, but has confirmed that it will also leave the FIM World Endurance Championship, where it has been successfully represented by SERT for 30 years.

Suzuki’s factory was one of the first to enter the Superbike championships in the United States, Japan, and then World Superbike when it emerged in 1988. Also, the company has always been represented in the World Endurance Racing Championship, participating in absolutely every Suzuka 8 Hours.

Japanese tuning atelier Yoshimura has always been Suzuki’s main partner in the racing world and, thanks to the team founded by Pops Yoshimura, it was Suzuki that won the very first Suzuka 8 Hours race in 1978. Representing the factory, Yoshimura Racing fielded a lineup of drivers, Wes Cooley and Mike Baldwin from the Grand Prix Championship. That year’s victory came on a Yoshimura-prepared Suzuki GS1000 motorcycle.

Suzuki took its first world title as a manufacturer in World Endurance in 1983 with the Suzuki GS1000, and the team that secured the Japanese victory was the team from Le Mans. In fact, almost all European Suzuki race victories were won by SERT.

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By 2000, SERT (Suzuki Endurance Racing Team) as we are used to seeing them was finally formed. Suzuki GSX-R1000’s domination of the world championship began in 2002, and in a very unusual way: Zongshen Motorcycle Racing Team of China, sponsored by the government of China under the sign of the Zongshen factory, entered the championship, but they were driving Suzuki GSX-R1000 and British riders were driving them. In 2003, British Suzuki GB Racing – Phase One won the championship.

Suzuki withdraws from the most successful project in World Endurance history 3

Under its current name, SERT opened an account in 2007. In 2021, Yoshimura announced it was merging with SERT to win, and the title went to Suzuki again! Since 1983, the French team has brought Suzuki 18 world titles.

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The Suzuki factory officially shut down the GSX-R1000 development program in 2010, reducing its presence in World Superbike to a minimum. But as the bike continued to be produced in a civilian version, SERT and other brand supporters (mostly from the UK) continued to work with Suzuki. In the FIM EWC, the GSX-R1000 has proven its balance and stability many times since 2010. But in WSBK, it was no longer enough.

Suzuki keeps some programs in British Superbike and MotoAmerica, but their participation is not a factory, and the responsibility for the result is entirely on the shoulders of local dealers, while engine tuning continues to be done by Yoshimura Racing.