The 2016 season has entered the finishing straight for Berthold Hauser, Technical Director at BMW Motorrad Motorsport, and his engineers.
The team of experts from Munich support racing customers around the world, who run the BMW S 1000 RR in a wide range of national and international championships – like the MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship, the FIM Endurance World Championship, the FIM Sidecar World Championship (BMW racers compete on machines powered by BMW S 1000 RR engines), the FIM CEV Superbike European Championship, the British Superbike Championship, the Superbike IDM International German Championship and in numerous national championships on six continents.
This extensive support has proven to be successful: in the 20 racing series that count towards the BMW Motorrad Race Trophy, BMW customer teams have already claimed 71 race wins and a total of 213 podium finishes this season.
They have already secured the title in two championships: Jordan Szoke (CA) defended his title in the Canadian Superbike Championship, while Michal Prášek (CZ) retained his crown in the Superstock class of the Alpe Adria Road Racing Championship.
BMW riders also top the overall standings in numerous other championships, including the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, the Superstock class of the British Superbike Championship, and the International Road Racing Championship.
Furthermore, BMW racers have also enjoyed success at prestigious road racing events: BMW riders Ian Hutchinson (GB) and Michael Dunlop (GB) have battled it out for victory at the North West 200, Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, Southern 100 and the Ulster Grand Prix, setting a host of new records in the process.
In an interview, Hauser discusses BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s extensive customer racing programme and looks back at the season so far.
What are the objectives of BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s customer racing programme?
Berthold Hauser: “Our goal is to provide our customers with support tailored to their respective regulations, which can often differ dramatically. We also support them in the areas in which specific modifications are required. We are there to assist BMW Motorrad racers all over the world. The goal is for our customers to enjoy racing with the RR, and for them to be competitive in their respective classes and racing series.”
Your department is the interface between the racing and production development departments at BMW Motorrad. How does the technology transfer work, and how important is it?
Hauser: “The racing and production development departments are closely interlinked and are mutually dependent. Our experience gained at the racetrack is incorporated in the further development and new development of the production bike. That, in turn, forms the basis for the racing activities of our customers. Because of this, it is something of a loop: we contribute to an optimal development of the production bike, and can thus offer our customers a competitive basis for corresponding racing modifications. Therefore, the fact that we are integrated organisationally in the development and are in direct dialogue with the various departments is very important. We also contribute to quality assurance, as the stresses and strains placed on the bikes at the racetrack make it the best test environment for BMW Motorrad’s further developments and new developments.”
2016 has been a very successful season so far. Does this confirm the strategic direction of the customer racing programme?
Hauser: “Absolutely. These results confirm that our strategic direction is the right one. Our customers are victorious in numerous different championships worldwide. This, in turn, leads to the fact that we are constantly acquiring new customers, who have seen that they have a good chance of achieving success with the combination of the BMW S 1000 RR and the support of BMW Motorrad Motorsport. The success of our strategy is also due to our close relationship to our customers. They know that we are able to cater for the individual needs of the riders, and our customers repeatedly confirm that they are happy.”
How many customer teams are you supporting this season?
Hauser: “If we add them all up – from the teams we work with at the racetrack to those we are in contact with via E-mail support – we come to well over 200. That number is increasing continuously, as the word obviously gets around the paddocks that you always get a response and support at BMW. Therefore, we are seeing an ever-increasing number of customer teams turning to us.”
What is the main focus of your work?
Hauser: “There are two main focusses for us. On the one hand, we have to develop universal solutions, which are simple to implement for as many customers as possible, regardless of the various demands of their respective racing series. On the other hand, the teams obviously also have a lot of very individual and specific issues and requests. In this case, we are able to help with solutions tailored precisely to the issue in hand. For us, the most important thing is for people to enjoy riding the bike, that they feel comfortable, and that they know they are not alone if they are struggling to make progress with technical queries. A racing motorcycle is a highly-complex system, which also has to be movable and manageable under the requirements of motorsport, which are often very specific.”
How do you support the customers?
Hauser: “As BMW S 1000 RR experts, we are charged with supporting our customers with any issues that may arise. This support can be provided in a number of ways, from E-mail to on-site support at the racetrack. Then there is also our remote support, which sees our experts connected directly online to the bike at the racetrack, allowing them to receive data, analyse it and send back new set-up solutions. As you can see, there are many possible kinds of support.”
What has been the biggest challenge for you so far this season?
Hauser: “There is not really a ‘biggest challenge’ in that sense, but I have to say that the sheer number of queries we receive is a big challenge in itself. Then you have the complexity of the different requirements and issues our customers have – from the top tier, such as the World Superbike Championship, to amateur racing. It is a huge balancing act to cope with all these requirements and satisfy every customer request. This large number and diverse range of tasks represents a constant challenge. We work well everywhere and live up to the teams’ expectations. The fact that we have been successful in this regard is shown by the fantastic results achieved by our customers – from the success at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy to the many race wins and podiums in national series and even at amateur level.”
What are your hopes for the rest of the season?
Hauser: “We obviously hope to see plenty more success. However, the most important thing for us is that our guys – from top pro to amateur – continue to have great fun on the RR.”