Honda will return to the Endurance World Championship next season with a formidable new line-up including Julien Da Costa, Freddy Foray and Sebastien Gimbert.

The announcement comes after Honda confirmed the end of its TT Legends project, which combined the international road racing events with the EWC series in a team spearheaded by 20-time TT winner John McGuinness.

Roads specialist McGuinness and Manx rider Conor Cummins will concentrate solely on the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT for Honda's official roads team in 2014 as the manufacturer launches a new effort to secure the EWC title next year with a dedicated endurance racing squad.

French rider Da Costa, Foray and Gimbert have an impressive collective track record in EWC with no fewer than seven championship titles between them.

Da Costa is a three-time EWC champion - most recently lifting the crown this year - and has finished first at the Le Mans 24-hour three times and the Bol d'Or 24-hour twice. The 32-year-old was also French Superbike Champion in 2012.

Foray (29) meanwhile secured back-to-back Endurance World Championships in 2010 and 2011 while Gimbert raced for official Honda teams from 1995-2001 and started his endurance career with the manufacturer in 1999.

The 36-year-old secured the EWC title in 2004 and has placed second overall in the championship in the last two years. He is also a double French Superbike Champion.

Da Costa said: "I am very excited to be with Honda for 2014. It's a new machine and a new team for me and I'm motivated like never before.

"I have never worked with Honda as a professional rider before, but I know we are aiming to win the world championship and I believe 100% that we can make that happen.

"I know Freddy really well, we are good friends and sometimes train together in the winter and we will definitely work well together," he added.

"I've known Sebastien for a very long time but we've never been team-mates. He has been one of my best opponents over the years - we've battled on the track many times and fought for the French Superbike title together four times.

"I'm sure we will all do the job on track. I'm looking forward to getting to know the team and I'm ready to work hard to fight for the title."

Robert Watherston, Head of Motorsport, Honda Motor Europe, said he believed the team had a strong chance of securing the world crown in the five-round series next year.

"Over the last three years we have developed a solid foundation and secured consistent results - it's now time to up our game and sharpen our attack on the 2014 title," he said.

"The level of competition in EWC is incredibly high and the new direction for the team ensures that we have all the right elements in place to increase our chances of success in the championship.

"With three proven endurance specialists in the line-up I'm confident that Honda can once again see its name on the Endurance World Championship trophy."

The team will continue to be run from the same UK base in Louth.


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