This just in from Honda:
Honda has revealed that it will contest the 2014 FIM Endurance World Championship with an all-new rider line-up and the clear aim of securing the title victory. French endurance racing experts Julien Da Costa, Freddy Foray and Sebastien Gimbert will form a formidable three-man squad for the five-round series, competing aboard the 2014 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
The three riders 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 in 2013 - and has placed 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 and is no stranger to the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, having competed in the 2013 German IDM series and the final two rounds of the 2013 British Superbike season aboard the machine.
Gimbert also has a history with Honda. He raced for official Honda teams from 1995-2001 and starting his endurance career with the manufacturer in 1999. The 36-year-old rider 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.
Honda's new direction in EWC supersedes the three-year Honda TT Legends project, which has seen road racing specialists compete in the Isle of Man TT, North West 200 and World Endurance events under the same banner with the unifying link of the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
The outfit secured some impressive results and in doing so successfully raised the profile of the Endurance World Championship and Honda's involvement in the series. The 2014 team will continue to be run from the same UK base and will re-focus its strategy on challenging for the championship title.
Robert Watherston - Head of Motorsport, Honda Motor Europe
We're very pleased to reveal Honda's 2014 plans for the Endurance World Championship and announce the new team with Julien, Freddy and Sebastien on board. 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. 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.
Julien Da Costa
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. 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.
It is a real pleasure to be working with Honda for 2014 and I'm looking forward to getting started. Julien is a very good friend of mine and this will be the second time we have worked together as team-mates. I know him very well, I know his mentality and it will be great to work with him again. It will be my first time on the same team as Sebastien but I have known him and raced against him for many years. Together with the Honda crew and the Fireblade I think we have a very strong team. I'm very happy to be a part of it and can't wait to begin.
I am very happy to be with Honda for 2014. It's a very professional team and the Fireblade is a fast bike. I rode for Honda for many years in my early racing days, started my endurance career with them in 1999 and won the Le Mans 24-hour on the SP1 in 2000, so it feels like a second family to me. My new team-mates are both very fast, the crew has good experience and I am very motivated to begin this new challenge. I'm already training hard and looking forward to gettin