Sometimes you go racing and sometimes you go testing and this weekend was very much the latter. With a seven week break after the last race we decided to implement a range of upgrades to the car ahead for this race with sadly some mixed results.
A major part of our role with Yamaha is to develop the car for upgrades and parts for owners to buy from their Yamaha dealer as a result our race program is heavily geared around developing new parts and testing them in the worse possible conditions – full competition to maximise the performance of the car and the experience for owners. For this race we decided to implement the new weather protection upgrades as well as the new power upgrades.
For most FIA race series the UTV class or Class 3 for rally raid event regulations mandate a full roof, spare wheel storage, full firewalls and wheel guards so we have developed a full package of bodywork parts to allow cars to compete in such events. The roof and firewall are constructed from fibreglass and kevlar which keeps the weight down to 12kg for the complete package. In addition to the roof we also re-developed our front mud guards, the cycle wings worked well but they suffered in deep mud so we designed a custom formed kevlar and fibreglass arch extension to replace them.
Sometimes you go racing and sometimes you go testing.
At the same time we decided to run with the new turbo conversion for which we decided to go with a package offered by Silber in the USA. We decided on the Silber package as a start point as the overall design was by far the best engineered with the turbo bolted straight to a new manifold to minimise lag, generally the further the turbo is from the block the more laggy the power delivery. The Silber kit also includes an intercooler, change of induction filter and new pipework. Running 6psi the power was increased to 155bhp at the flywheel so some good gains when combined with our own straight through exhaust.
This round was at Ceri, mid Wales, a new venue having not been used for rallying since the 1970’s and the course was fantastic, some deep rough sections, steep drop offs and some wide open cat 1 gravel roads we were really looking forward to it.
A major part of our role with Yamaha is to develop the car.
Sadly the race itself did not quite go as planned, the first two runs we suffered from boost issues, one moment the car would give maximum boost and power and then die completely, usually at the most dangerous time and the first runs I came back with a thousand yard stare from it, we finally identified it as a faulty boost controller, swapped that and tried again. Once the boost was sorted the car drove wonderfully, massively quick coming out of the corners and I was using 4th and 5th gears in sections where I’d usually be holding onto 2nd and 3rd but three quarters round the stage the car overheated so I had to coast the remainder to get it back which when we did the car dumped all its coolant out onto the deck. We did 5 runs and after every one the car overheated, dumped its coolant and we had to start again.
The sensible thing to do would be to retire the car of course, overheating an engine over and over again usually ends up with a damaged head or block or both but with the team being the only one this season to have a 100% finish record and the Polaris Turbo already out after just two runs we decided to wind the boost down and just finish the event to collect some points as well as do a thorough test on the bodywork upgrades.
We decided to wind the boost down and just finish the event to collect some points.
So thats what we did, with no over heating issues on day two we knocked 45 seconds off the run time but we were already 4 minutes behind the other Yamaha so we cruised round making sure we got the finish. The roof and other bodywork upgrades worked perfectly, the new windscreen and wipers all performed exactly as we hoped and other than some minor changes on fitment it was all perfect. The decision is now what we do with regards power, go back to non turbo or keep on with the development and work on cooling……I guess you’ll find out at the next race report.