Thailand’s R2M has taken an innovative and inclusive step with changes to regulations for the 2018 season. The series is being re-branded from R2M Open 400cc to R2M Supersport 400. For road bikes this is the region’s fastest growing market segment, so the new class is set to provide an exciting showcase for manufacturers.
R2M Supersport 400 series is now open to motorcycles manufactured in Asia with engines of between 250cc and 400cc. During 2017, the Yamaha R3 and Kawasaki Ninja 400 were the most popular frontrunners, although KTM proved to be a worthy opponent. This was most evident in the R2M 8 Hours Endurance 2017, when BRP Racing’s RC390 got to within 2.2 seconds of the winning Yamaha after a thrilling chase through the darkness at Thailand Circuit.
These weapons of choice are sure to feature again in the coming season, but will be facing some exciting new potential challengers:
HONDA, which had no entries in the 400cc Professional Division 1 class during 2017, will be fighting back with its CBR 400R. The bike uses the same frame as the CBR 500 and has been produced in Thailand for export to Japan, so is already tried and tested as a road bike.
SUZUKI also enter the arena with the stunning new GSX-R250.
FROM INDIA, TVS may also have something to say, with the impressive Apache 310RR which uses the same engine as the BMW GS310.
In line with its usual practice for new race classes, R2M will run Supersport 400 with open regulations, leaving teams to achieve the right balance of outright engine power and durability over a race weekend.
While this creates opportunities for Thailand’s race engine specialists, other likely modifications include electronics, such as quickshifters and data-logging, chassis and swingarms, revalving front forks, changing rear shock absorbers and brake pads and hoses. These will be in addition to the usual clip-ons, rear-sets, brake and clutch levers and guards and exhaust systems.
With up to 100 entries per round expected across the Professional, Rookie and Novice classes, R2M Supersport 400 will provide a boost to companies in Thailand which supply racing teams.
The first event for the new class will be R2M 8 Hours Endurance 2018 on 9-11 March at Thailand Circuit. It will be the toughest of tests, but one that will put teams in the best of positions to run at the front in the coming season.
Details about regulations will be presented and discussed at tomorrow’s seminar at Rajamangala National Stadium from 13:00. That will precede the Annual FMSCT and R2M Champion Awards and celebrations that will take place in the evening.