Gino, why did you want to take part in the 24H Motos?
“I’ve always been a fan of endurance racing. My dad’s good friend is Terry Rymer, who was World Endurance Champion, so I’ve always aspired to do this at some point in my career. Two years ago, I did the Suzuka 8 Hours. I really enjoyed it and it went really well, so after that, I thought 'Wow, it would be really nice to do some endurance’. I had signed a contract this year for BSP, with my team from last year, but we had some issues and the deal fell apart at the end of last year. And it just happened that I was instructing and I was teaching a rider in Almeria, and Wojcik Racing was there so we got speaking and it went from there. We spoke about the possibility of racing for the full season. I was interested, they were interested and we came to a deal – and here we are in Le Mans.”
Is it a new challenge in your career?
“Yes definitely. The only endurance I’ve done is the 8 Hour in Suzuka so, yes, it’s going to be a very different challenge. I’ve done many different championships now in my career, so why not do something different again?”
Every rider tells me that at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning, when it’s dark and cold, you won’t be quite as excited!
How did you train for the race?
“I did a lot of riding this winter. A lot of riding on a bike because, as I said, I teach and instruct on a track so I’m always doing many, many laps and my physical training as normal. In the off season, I always prepare as hard as I can in the winter so I am ready for the race.”
How is it different to British Superbike?
“It’s just a very different environment. Firstly, it’s a team environment where you have to find a solution that works on the bike for every rider. Because it’s not about one rider being fast but about achieving an average speed from the three or four riders you have. Yeah, the atmosphere is different because… well, ok, we’re only at the test so far, so it’s difficult to say, but there are many different riders of different abilities: you have riders from GP and Superbike here, and then you have other riders from club racing or something, so there are very different speeds on the track. So it’s not always about how fast you can go; there’s many other factors to consider.”
As a rider, is it exciting to compete in such a prestigious race as the 24H Motos?
“Yes, sure! I mean, the Le Mans 24H and the Suzuka 8H are the prestigious races that we all want to do. At the moment, I’m really, really looking forward to the race, but every rider tells me that at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning, when it’s dark and cold, you won’t be quite as excited! But yes, I’m excited about the challenge.”
What is your target for the race?
“It is really difficult to say, to be honest. You have the factory teams, and then the privateer teams, and I think a good target for us would be to come out on top among the privateer teams. It would be nice to battle with the factory teams but it’s difficult for us as it’s our first year and as a privateer team, it’s always difficult to challenge the factory teams, but I think if we work hard, we can be somewhere there.”
PHOTO: Gino Rea, rider of the #77 Yamaha entered by Polish outfit Wojcik Racing Team 1. They will be competing in the Formula EWC class, the flagship category at the 24H Motos.