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On Track



Pit Beirer, Motorsport Director at KTM

elements are provided by the damper specialist WP, which is part of the KTM GROUP. In the meantime Pankl, known for its high-quality conrods and other specialized engine parts in the highest level of motorsports, has also become part of the KTM-empire and this combined in-house technology gave them the confidence to challenge the best in the world. They only went abroad in search of the exhaust, but for a good reason. For all its four-stroke activities, KTM relies on the Slovenian manufacturer Akrapovič. Therefore collaborating on the MotoGP-project as well was never a question for Beirer and all the technicians. In future the RC16 – the official name of the MotoGP machine – is set to rise above all other MotoGP bikes in a way that follows the principles of KTM in the off-road categories. First there is the works racing bike, then an offshoot for top world-level teams, and finally a simpler version available to everyone, which will be able to be modified to an individual’s liking. The plan is that the RC16 will be available for hobby drivers to sharpen their skills with training sessions on racetracks. MAGNIFICENT PLACE For the MotoGP-project, the racing department had to be enlarged. It dwarfs all of KTMs motorsport activities of the past not only technologically but logistically as well. Not only was new staff needed, but also new space. Once Pierer and Beirer agreed about the project, the Motorsport Director became headhunter, head of the organizing committee and project manager, all in one. Two years earlier the racing department moved into a nice building in Munderfing, just around the corner

from the WP factory. It turned out to be too small for the needs of KTM’s worldwide motorsport activities and the new MotoGP-project. So, without further ado, Pierer decided to use it as the future marketing studio and to order the construction of a far larger motorsport complex. A hypermodern building of about 2.5 acres was drawn up, which was envisaged to contain all motorsport activities and which was constructed in a way that allowed a constant exchange of ideas between various departments. The construction took more than a year and when Beirer was not out at a racetrack or a conference he oversaw every moment of it. He was all the more proud at the presentation when it was finally ready. This magnificent palace not only stands out from the racing departments of other manufacturers architectonically, it stands for the acknowledgement of motorsport and the future by KTM. It’s also equipped with everything that makes a working environment efficient. All departments are situated radially around a core of stockrooms and test rooms, connected by a round hallway. The MotoGP department is situated in a big open room, together with the motocross department, to enable the technicians to put their heads together in case of problems. Or they can move into another room nearby to talk it out there. This is so because the electronics department is located just behind the glass wall of the MotoGP workshop. “This department was established for the MotoGP project,” Pit Beirer explains. “But because electronics will be more important in other kinds of motorsports as well in future, we are in perfect shape for this challenge already.”

T HE RI G HT KIN D OF P EOPLE In a bright office on the upper floor overlooking the Alps, a man can be found who is well known in the pits of the motorcycle racing world championship – in different colours though. Former racing driver Mike Leitner was Dani Pedrosa’s crew chief for more than a decade. He became world champion thrice with the little Spaniard before accompanying him into MotoGP, where he learned in detail the technique, the development and organizational structure of a MotoGP project at the powerful Repsol Honda works team. When he parted from Pedrosa at the end of 2014 he was immediately contacted by Pit Beirer and became one of the MotoGP project’s most important persons. Leitner also knows all the important technicians from the MotoGP paddocks and has since recruited the top-class for KTM. So the team which originally consisted of project chairman Sebastian Risse, who earlier led the Moto3 project to winning the world championship title, became a concentrated congregation of the very best in motorsport. But this is only a continuation of the kind of politics championed by Pit Beirer which has led KTM to the top of each motorsport category. He always knew how to get the very best specialists to work on his projects. PO W ERFU L EN GIN E The concept of the MotoGP KTM was set very early in the planning stage. A V4-engine, again designed by Kurt Trieb, was to be fitted into the typical KTM grid type tubular frame. The tall Austrian, who once worked for Porsche and BMW in Formula 1 and also designed the cylinder head of the BMW S 1000 RR in his engineering office, works exclusively for KTM. He also designed the successful motocross

Akrapovič Magazine vol. 20  
Akrapovič Magazine vol. 20