John McGuinness and the Honda TT Legends team took a strong fifth place finish at the final round of the 2012 World Endurance Championship at the weekend to end the year in fourth place overall.
Competing at the historic Le Mans circuit in France, John and his team-mates Australian Cameron Donald and Frenchman Mathieu Gines put in an extremely consistent 24-hours of high-speed racing to ensure that the Honda TT Legends were one of only two teams to successfully complete every single round of this season’s championship.
The week got off to a steady start for John although qualifying didn’t quite go to plan and despite lapping quicker than what he had done in 2011, a best lap of 1m40.267s wasn’t quite what he’d hoped for whilst he was unable to lap any quicker in the final session due to an oil spill leaving the track in a tricky condition.
Nevertheless, the combined times from John, Cameron and Mathieu meant they lined up in eighth on the grid and were well placed for the gruelling race.
As has become the norm now for the team, they immediately moved up the order in the race and with John having the honour of starting the race, they soon found themselves running in fifth place.
All three riders completed their stints with minimum fuss, lapping consistently at a pace that maintained their top five position.
With no incidents at all for the team, the race was uneventful for the majority of the leading protagonists and so the top five positions remained, unusually, the same throughout.
At the end of the punishing 24-hours, John, Cameron and Mathieu completed a staggering 828 laps to maintain their 100 per cent finishing record, something that only the World Championship winning SERT Suzuki team also achieved.
Speaking afterwards John commented: “It’s a fantastic achievement to not only finish fifth this weekend but finish every single race we’ve entered this year; that speaks volumes about the team and everyone involved.
“Qualifying wasn’t too bad for me and the fact that the top six teams tested at the circuit a few days before the event gave them quite a significant start.
“I lapped quicker than what I did 12 months ago but I wasn’t happy with my best time, especially as I was unable to improve in the second session.
“Mathieu and Cameron did great jobs though and, overall, we were in a decent starting position.
“The race was, unusually, pretty uneventful for all of the top teams and normally you’d expect one or two of them to hit trouble but not this weekend – it was a great advert for the professionalism and skill of all of them.
“It’s just great to be part of this team and we’ve worked brilliantly well wherever we’ve ridden, whether it be the TT, North West 200 or here at the World Endurance events.
“We all gave it 100 per cent and whilst it is a little frustrating to end the season in fourth overall and not in the top three, the bike never missed a beat all year and so we’re all delighted with the result.”