WTF: HILLIER ON HONDA FOR TT 2024
James Hillier has unveiled his Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade machinery for the RST Superbike, RL360 Superstock, and Milwaukee Senior TT Races, riding under the new banner of WTF Racing for 2024.
Owned and operated by the Alan Gardner and Paul Curran who Hillier has ridden Yamaha machinery for since 2022, WTF Racing – whose tagline is “We’re The Future” – will support the Hampshire rider at the Isle of Man TT Races and North West 200, as well as a return to the Saudi Arabian sands for a second appearance at the Dakar rally in 2025.
Winner of the 2013 Lightweight Race and a 14-time podium finisher – all with Bournemouth Kawasaki – Hillier enjoyed a profitable year in 2023 when he posted his quickest ever lap of the Mountain Course, lapping at 132.702mph on his way to a sixth-place finish in the 2023 Senior TT and becoming the fastest ever Yamaha rider in the process.
For that reason, it’s somewhat of a surprise to see Hillier and the team make the switch to Honda power but he’s confident the move will see him lap quicker still and push for the podium positions in the 1000cc races.
James Hillier: “Riding the Hondas will be a new challenge for me after two years on the Yamaha but given the performance we’ve seen of late from the Fireblade, whether in Superbike or Superstock trim, it’s one I’m really looking forward to.”
“The Honda is proven to be quick straight out the box, which shows how good the base setting is, and it’s a good all-round package. You only have to look at the entry to see how many Hondas there are and that speaks volumes.”
“One area I struggled a bit with last year was top speed and the Hondas had the edge over me, so it’ll be good not to have that issue this year! We probably won’t run a full Superbike but will instead run a Superstock-spec bike in all races, albeit with a higher tune of engine for the Superbike and Senior Races.”
"The Hondas had the edge last year, it'll be good not to have that issue this year"
“Keeping it safe and simple like that works better for me as it’s not easy swapping bikes all the time and this way will reduce the workload for all concerned. I’ve got the same team and crew with me as I’ve had for the last two years – only the team’s name is different – and I’m confident of finding more speed and making another step forward from the results and lap speeds I achieved in 2023.”
Hillier and WTF Racing are expected to have access to Honda Racing’s data from 2023, which will be a tremendous asset when it comes to setting up of the Fireblade. And although he’s yet to finalise his plans for the two Monster Energy Supersport Races, an announcement is expected soon.
To accompany the new look is a new approach to environmental issues, with WTF Racing taking a proactive approach to carbon neutrality. Focussing on energy efficient programmes and logistics as well as a commitment to recycle racing components once they reach the end of their racing lifespan, the team are clear on the environmental ethos.
Alan Gardner, WTF Racing Team Owner: “When it comes to racing, especially a high level, saving the planet seems to be low on the priorities list. WTF have committed to racing responsibly from the outset and have already make considerable inroads to ensuring that the second our trucks leave for the North West 200 and then onto the Isle of Man TT, we will have already offset our carbon footprint.”
“Our name says ‘We’re The Future’ but foremost, we’re a race team, and our focus will always be to win but that also means winning in the race to save the planet.”