Small cars powered by high-performance motorcycle engines are usually fascinating but often dangerously crude. So, we were intrigued when Yamaha says it is developing a dirt-track race car with a 999cc inline-Four from its R1 superbike. The tuning-fork company describes its R1DT as a concept, but, with its apparent development work behind it, it’s difficult to imagine it won’t reach production one day.
“The Yamaha R1DT concept car is an exciting new concept that has the potential to introduce dirt-track enthusiasts to Yamaha quality and performance while simultaneously attracting more motorsports enthusiasts and racers to the exciting world of dirt track racing,” said Dave Park, Yamaha’s R1DT project manager.
Several R1DTs will compete this weekend in an exhibition race in Perris, California, with racing to be broadcasted online.
Begin Press Release
Yamaha Dirt Track Concept Car Attracts Wide Variety of Motorsports Champs in High-Profile Exhibition Race
CYPRESS, Calif. – November 8, 2017 – Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, is announcing the first ever R1 Dirt Track car (R1DT) exhibition race is scheduled for November 11, 2017, at the Perris Auto Speedway in Perris, California. More details on the “Yamaha R1DT Invitational” are at Facebook.com/YamahaDirtTrack, and the race will be broadcast live nationally during the “USAC Budweiser Oval Nationals” on https://www.speedshifttv.com/.
Yamaha’s R1DT concept dirt-track racecar is still in prototype development, but has captured attention from the racing world for its unique design and production possibilities. The tube chassis, purpose-built dirt track car is powered by a fuel-injected, inline 4-cylinder engine from Yamaha’s R1S production motorcycle. It is designed to be a low-maintenance, low-cost-of-operation turnkey production racer with the potential for national retail distribution, financing and parts support that could bring a new level of accessibility to fans and would-be racers from outside of the current dirt-track world.
The Yamaha R1DT Invitational will be the first time that multiple R1DT cars are on a track at the same time and competing for the checkered flag. The Invitational will feature racing champions, retired veterans, and top up-and-comers from various racing backgrounds.
The roster of R1DT racers includes:
– CJ Greaves: TORC Series three-time Pro 4 champion; Three-time Pro 2 champion; Current Pro Stock UTV champion
– Cory Kruseman: Two-time Chili Bowl champion; Numerous midget, non-winged and sprint car championships
– Donnie Moran “Million Dollar Man”: Won the largest payday ever racing a Dirt Late Model at the Eldora Million; Multi-Crown Jewel champion including the North South 100, Eldora Dream 100 and World 100
– Dustin Nelson: Two-time Lucas Oil Regional Off-Road Racing champion in a Production 1000 Side-by-Side; Record six-time ATV QuadCross Series champion; AMA Four-Stroke national champion (Motocross)
– Josh Hayes: Four-Time AMA Superbike champion; Second in all-time AMA Superbike wins
– Ken Gushi: Formula DRIFT and D1 veteran; Youngest competitor to race in the D1 Grand Prix and Formula DRIFT at 16 years old
– Natalie Decker: 2013 ARCA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year; 2012 Super Stock Class champion
– “Slammin” Sammy Halbert: AMA Flat Track Grand National champion; 2006 AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year; Gold and Silver X Games medalist
“Over the course of the year, we have seen growing anticipation from both fans and racers to see what this vehicle is capable of,” said project manager Park, “and we’re excited to see these amazing professional racers climb into these cars and turn some laps together in what we expect will be a fun and exciting exhibition race.”
The Yamaha R1DT concept brings some unique features to dirt-track racing, like symmetrical suspension components, variable engine output, data acquisition, and the ability to run on pump gas. The R1DT is designed to be a budget friendly, turnkey, low-maintenance solution. Ultimately, if the project makes it to production, it could become an all-new racing package that can reduce operating costs and serve as a good training tool for up-and-coming drivers without sacrificing the fun factor for more experienced racers.
“The R1DT is still a concept at this point, but our goal is to make a production car that meets Yamaha’s high standards for performance, quality and reliability,” Park said “The Yamaha R1DT Invitational should help us gather valuable feedback from racers, fans, promoters and sanctioning bodies to continue refining the R1DT racer concept toward a production-ready design.”