Although the Dunlop-equipped Yamaha-powered French squad has made two new riding recruits for the upcoming EWC season, Steinmayr is confident of achieving yet more success in 2023.
This is what the 29-year-old from Austria had to say during a break from testing duties at Circuito de Alcarrás last Friday.
Where in the world are you Philipp and what are you doing today?
“I’m in Alcarrás with the team for the first test of the year, it’s good but very, very cold. We started at 11am because before it was zero or one degree, but the sun is out and it’s getting a little warmer. I’ve made a few laps on the two bikes we have here to just confirm that everything is okay because I know the bikes but my new team-mates don’t know them from last year.”
You mention your new team-mates for this year, Enzo De La Vega and Axel Maurin, will they be good additions to the Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore line-up?
“I don’t know Enzo so well, but he won at Spa last season and I expect he will be fast. Axel I already knew he has the speed, definitely, so we will be competitive.”
For the team it’s a benefit to still have you on board because you know the bike, how the team works and can give a lot of information to your new team-mates?
“Of course that’s good and that’s why I started the testing this morning to just reconfirm that everything is good and we can start from here on.”
What was your reaction when you learned that Hugo Clere and Baptiste Guittet, with whom you won the World Cup last season, would be leaving the team and stepping up to Formula EWC with TATI Team Beringer Racing for 2023?
“That’s a difficult question. It was a shame because I really like them and we had a good season winning the FIM Endurance World Cup. But the decision was from their side. We were in contact all the time so I knew their plans and I also visited them in France in November where they told me personally that they will have a test and were thinking maybe to try to step up to Formula EWC. But it is like it is and Axel and Enzo seem to be nice guys and it’s a good choice from the team.”
Your achievement in winning the FIM Endurance World Cup last year was fantastic but do you look to follow your old team-mates by graduating to the Formula EWC category one day?
“It’s an ambition and it’s clear the Formula EWC class is a little more interesting with the [higher specification of the] bikes. I was the reserve rider for YART in 2020 and I rode their Yamaha so I already have some experience of what a bike like this is about. It was amazing and of course if there will be a chance in the future I will try to have a go. I feel I am ready to make the move if I am honest.”
How much pressure do you feel you are under to defend your title this year?
“Under pressure maybe no but of course that’s the target. In 24-hour races you can never say what will happen but of course that’s the target to defend the title and we will do everything we can to achieve that.”
You and the team achieved some exceptional results last year – is there room for improvement this season?
“I know during the winter the team were super-motivated and already last year they tried to improve all the time, never standing still. The bike was amazing already last year and for sure the team will have thought about anything that wasn’t perfect and try to improve on that.”
How competitive is the Superstock category?
“Very competitive to be honest. Already last year you could see it was very close racing and also with the gaps in lap time. Having Dunlop as a mono-brand tyre supplier is a very good concept to make it as similar or as fair as possible for everyone. I expect this year it will even stronger because the championship is gaining momentum with more and more people and more and more riders entering. I can see from my colleagues in the IDM series that there are more and more riders coming to EWC and I expect it to be a really interesting season.”
You mention IDM, you have a really good programme with the BCC-alpha-Van Zon-BMW team alongside your EWC campaign don’t you?
“Yes, yes, I know [team boss] Werner Daemen already from years before and also from the EWC paddock where we speak sometimes. We are switching bikes from Yamaha to BMW and from championship to championship but it’s going to be a very good experience and I can just learn from both bikes. In the IDM we have the mono-brand Pirelli tyres so we have to adapt to them but it’s a good team and a good chance as well for me.”
And it’s always good to be racing, right?
“Absolutely it’s the best training to just be on the bike and have the feeling all the time. It doesn’t matter what bike and what tyres, it’s always better than nothing and with two championships it’s more track time. It’s also more pressure and it’s not always easy because I have to work outside as well but it’s definitely worth it.”
What’s your day job?
“I run my own company, my father built this company and I took it over so it can be quite busy. The good point is that I can take the time off I need because my father is still in the company to support me. Time is not really the problem but you are always thinking a little bit about work and people are calling me. We have an automation business mainly in the food industry, it’s electricity, automation and software.”
So you are quite a clever guy as well as being a fast racer?!
“I don’t know about that, but I try. But it’s definitely a busy life.”
What’s your schedule between now and the opening round of the EWC season at Le Mans in April?
“March now is really starting to get going because we have the test in Alcarrás, then in mid-March we have the test with the IDM team also in Spain. From Spain I go directly to the Le Mans pre-test with my endurance team again. After the pre-test it’s a two-week break and then we kick-off the season at Le Mans so it starts to be busy now.”
How much training do you do?
“I try to train as much as possible, sometimes in the morning before work, then I do a second session in the afternoon or evening. I spend a lot of time on my bicycle, doing a lot of endurance training because I always have to watch my weight because I’m tall and have a lot of muscle! I am doing a lot to try to keep fit, every day there is something with no day off.”
Who has inspired you most in your career?
“Marc Marquez is really inspiring, he’s simply the best at what he is showing and also mentally what he is ready to do for his dreams, it’s on another level.”
FIM Endurance World Cup 2023 calendar refresher
Round 1: 24 Heures Motos (Circuit Bugatti, Le Mans, France) 13-16 April 2023
Round 2: 24H SPA EWC Motos (Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium) 16-18 June 2023
Round 3: Bol d’Or 24 hours (Circuit Paul Ricard, France) 14-17 September 2023
More on Philipp Steinmayr: https://www.content.ewc.3codes.io/driver/philipp-steinmayr/