Peter Hickman has announced he will graduate to the international stage with a wild card appearance during the upcoming British round of the 2022 WorldSBK Championship at Donington Park.
Fresh from scoring four victories on the 2022 Isle of Man TT last month, Bennetts British Superbike Championship contender Hickman will bolster the local contingent aboard the FHO Racing BMW M 1000 RR.
Adding another highlight to an already packed racing schedule for the Louth rider this year, Bennetts Ambassador Hickman joins Tarran Mackenzie as one of two BSB regulars lining up alongside the likes of Jonathan Rea, Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu at the Leicestershire circuit on 15 - 17 July.
While the wild card represents FHO Racing’s international debut, this will be Hickman’s third WorldSBK appearance having previously raced at Donington Park in 2012 with Crescent Suzuki and in 2019 with the factory BMW Motorrad outfit.
Describing it as a reward for the FHO Racing squad following its success at the TT and in BSB - where he is well placed for a fifth consecutive run to the Title Showdown - Hickman is looking forward to this time getting to compete on his own machine.
"I’m mega excited to get a chance to have a go at the World superbikes. I’ve done it twice – once in 2012 with Worx Suzuki and again in 2019 with the BMW World Superbike team but both times were last minute arrangements, jumping on bikes I had never seen before.
"This time I’ll be riding my FHO Racing BMW which I race in the British Superbike Championship so that will be good. We are having to work on raising the electronics package to World Superbike spec which will change things quite a lot which could be interesting, but we’ll see.
"I think it’s fantastic that we’re getting the chance to do this as a team and it’s all down to Faye. She’s owned the team for a year and a half, and we’ve already done BSB, North West 200, Isle of Man TT and now we’re getting to do a World Superbike wildcard which is pretty cool.
"It’ll be good for everyone in the team to get to do a World Superbike round together, we’ve all done bits here and there not as a team, so I think it’s going to be a really great thing for us all."
Hickman and Mackenzie’s addition to the grid evokes memories of wild-carding BSB regulars battling for wins on British soil against the world’s best, such as Shane Byrne’s double at Brands Hatch in 2003 and Tom Sykes’ shock podium on the Rizla Suzuki at Donington Park in 2008.
However, while the current regulations - which differ in that BSB bikes use a standard ECU whereas WorldSBK teams can develop their own electronics package - make this more difficult today, FHO Racing boss Faye Ho is nonetheless confident local knowledge will help negate this.
"I’m thrilled to be able to announce FHO Racing’s participation in the UK round of the FIM Superbike World Championship. We have already had a very busy 2022 but this opportunity has presented itself and as a team, we’ve jumped at it.
"The team has already demonstrated its strength in British Superbikes and on the roads, but we are always keen to push ourselves and expand into new areas where possible, so joining the WSBK grid at Donington Park was the next step.
"Peter has some experience, having taken part in this event twice before and many of the crew have worked in the series before so we will be arriving with some knowledge, and we are looking forward to learning more as we go.
"We will be heading into this event mainly for the experience, but we are eager to learn and continue to grow as a team and this is something I feel will benefit the whole team going forward."
A veritable veteran of Superbike racing, Hickman made his BSB debut back in 2007 but his profile soared on the back of a successful transition to international road racing in recent years. His WorldSBK wild card comes little more than a month after claiming four victories in the 2022 Isle of Man TT.
He scored a best result of seventh place during his most recent WorldSBK appearance in 2019 aboard the factory BMW alongside Tom Sykes.