New-look GT Factory Racing Downhill and Enduro team continues with Shimano Saint and XTR components for 2016 and 2017 seasons. The recently signed deal sees GT Factory Racing continue their 16-year winning relationship with world-leading component brand Shimano.
Riders such as Belgium's Martin Maes are no stranger to working with Shimano. Despite only being 19, Maes has been already been part of the Shimano testing and development team during his time with GT and Atherton Racing.
Likewise, as part of the Trek World Racing set up last year, former World Cup Downhill winner Brook MacDonald (New Zealand) also continues his relationship with Shimano, where he will provide expert and invaluable feedback about Shimano components at the highest level of competition.
Joining MacDonald in the Downhill program are fellow Kiwi Wyn Masters, Sam Dale (UK) and Jackson Frew (Australia). Masters will join Martin Maes at the Enduro World Series and similarly Maes will also turn his hand to Downhill racing but will concentrate mainly on Enduro racing.
Team Manager Mark Maurissen is also a long-term Shimano fan having raced with XTR components for GT during the 1990s. “We need the best when it really matters so there’s no compromise for me, Shimano and GT all the way. I’m super excited to see what we’ve put together for the team. With the new faces in the team too I can’t wait for the season to begin,” said Maurissen.
The team's GT Fury and GT Sanction bikes will be decked out with Shimano Saint for Downhill events or XTR for Enduro races.
Shimano Saint groupsets offer unrivalled durability for Downhill racing with single ring cranksets, two-way release Rapidfire Plus rear shift levers and hydraulic brake units featuring Ice Technology calipers and high-power ceramic pistons.
Meanwhile XTR groupsets offer the option of electronic Di2 or mechanical gear shifting on M9020 Rhythm Step drivetrains. Rapidfire XTR levers take care of shifting and Hollowtech II XTR cranks offer 1x11, 2x11 or 3x11 set ups. Combined with hydraulic brakes, XTR M9020 offers the finest example of Shimano’s engineering leadership and 24-years of experience in producing mountain bike components.
Shimano Europe’s sports marketing team will be the crucial link between the European-based GT Team and Shimano´s product development teams in Japan. Shimano’s Rudy Bouwmeester added, “Our relationships with Mark and GT go back a long way. We know we can put complete trust in the team and its riders to not only showcase our products at the highest levels and toughest conditions but also to help us develop and refine the way we engineer world class components.”
The Enduro team kick off their race program with a two-day race in the Chilean high Andes mountains over the weekend of 26-27 March, which will be supported by Shimano Latin America. The Downhill riders’ season starts two weeks later with Round 1 of the UCI Downhill World Cup in Lourdes, France, supported by Shimano Europe.