1 January 1901
Ilmor X3 ready for MotoGP debut.
MotoGP's newest team, Ilmor, a joint venture between Ilmor and Suter Racing Technology (SRT), has completed a successful two day test at Jerez ahead of its race debut at the penultimate round of the 2006 world championship on October 13-15.
Testing in Jerez gave the team another opportunity to learn more about how its brand new 800cc V4 powered 'Ilmor X3' performs on different tracks. Over the past couple of days the Ilmor crew, in conjunction with SRT, the chassis designers, have made final adjustments and fine tuned the bike's race set-up in preparation for next weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril.
The Jerez shakedown marked the team's fifth outing and followed on from a test at Estoril itself last week where, despite being hampered by appalling weather and debris on the track, five-times 500GP winner Garry McCoy put the bike through its paces around the new track formation.
Back in September at Barcelona, the Australian rider stunned the MotoGP fraternity with a super-fast test aboard the innovative X3 - where, as previously reported by Crash.net, McCoy outpaced the new 800cc Ducati GP7.
"The bike was impressive in testing although we are still in shakedown mode," said McCoy. "It's such an exciting project and I'm glad Mario has asked me to race for the team, I'm keen to get amongst the MotoGP guys again. Even though we have tested well so far, I'm not placing big expectations on the first two races, the established teams have 20 per cent more engine performance because they are still running to the current (990cc) rules."
Ilmor/SRT has secured McCoy's services, and Michelin tyres, for the final two races of the 2006 world championship at Estoril and then Valencia. The project is the brain child of the Swiss engineer Mario Illien (Ilmor) and Eskil Suter, and both will hope that by racing in the final two rounds of the 2006 season they can help secure backing for the 2007 championship.
Illien is better known for his many four-wheeled achievements in Formula One and Indy racing, his engine designs have won two F1 championship titles with McLaren-Mercedes plus the 'Indy 500' race 11 times. The Ilmor engine and Suter chassis have been designed together to achieve the optimum package, using a wealth of experience from both Formula One and Motorbike racing.
"It's a real bonus for us to have a rider like Garry, who has won in 500cc GPs, on the bike for the two wild-card races in Europe," said Illien. "Our recent tests in Estoril and Jerez have given us a fantastic opportunity to really educate ourselves about the bikes performance under a variety of different conditions. Both Ilmor and Eskil Suter's teams have worked tremendously hard over a short space of time to get to this point and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what we can do in Estoril."
The Ilmor X3 will be officially unveiled on Thursday 12th October at Estoril.
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