European motorcycle brand KTM began its foray into the AMA Pro American SuperBike class this past weekend at Mid-Ohio with its RC8R Race Spec, a sportbike based off the standard RC8R as tested in the 2011 KTM RC8R First Ride and 2011 KTM RC8R Track Comparison.
KTM has joined forces with Mitch Hansen’s HMC Racing outfit to run the program. The Wisconsin-based team fielded Orange bikes in the now defunct Supermoto Championship as well as providing support in the more recent U.S. Red Bull Rookies Cup. Michigan’s Chris Fillmore was the man at the controls after being selected due to his success with the team during the Supermoto days as well as his current road racing resume, which includes a number of wins in the newly formed AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 class.
“Together, Mitch and Chris formulate the perfect team to launch the development of our Superbike racing effort in the United States,” said Brad Hagi, VP of Sales at KTM North America. “They have both been tied to every major road racing effort KTM has assembled in North America and we are excited to see it escalate to this level of competition. With the national success KTM has had in the German Superbike Championship (IDM) and with a brand nucleus of ‘Ready to Race’ it is the obvious move to take our motorcycle to the next logical step: U.S. AMA SuperBike Racing.”
KTM has teamed up with HMC Racing and Chris Fillmore to campaign the 2011 KTM RC8R Race Spec in a few select American SuperBike rounds.
Last weekend, the newly formed team recorded two top-10 results despite having minimal testing and set-up time on the new machine.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the result we had,” said Hansen. “Fillmore rode much better than any of us had anticipated considering the time we have had to prepare for this event.”
Having originally planned on competing at three rounds, the cancellation of the VIR race (read about it in the VIR Unexpectedly Cancels 2011 AMA Races), means that you’ll only have one more chance to see the KTM team in action at the season finale Labor Day weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Ed. Note as of this post, KTM plans on racing the U.S. Grand Prix round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in addition to the season finale in New Jersey.