To celebrates its history and the new branding image that melds both its music business and its engine and performance side, Yamaha held a press conference last week to kickoff its huge display at the LA Auto Show. We were given a preview of its new advertising campaign (“One Yamaha”) and given a closer look at the many aspects of the company (did you know they build golf carts?).

Aside from its WaveRunners, dirt bikes, YXZ1000R SS side-by-side, boats and musical equipment, arguably the coolest vehicle in the booth is this purpose-built turnkey dirt track concept car. Yamaha has actually built more than one of these cars (this is actually the second they’ve built), with the idea of offering a turnkey dirt track car ready to race immediately. With over 600 tracks nationwide, Yamaha is exploring the idea with its concept of helping get more people into the most common form of auto racing in the U.S. The idea was generated during a meeting roughly two years ago with Yamaha employees simply exploring areas for future growth.

Division Manager of New Business Development at Yamaha Rob Trester spoke with us at the show about the concept car and some of the reasons behind building it.

“What’s kind of different about this from maybe a typical dirt track car is the idea is just a complete turnkey concept,” he said. “Basically you could buy potentially from a Yamaha dealer or a select Yamaha dealer a complete rolling car and race it that next weekend.”

The main selling point for the concept dirt tracker is getting people into the sport far easier. Most teams race in custom-built racecars, and race knowledge is typically passed down from generation to generation of friends and family who’ve spent years in the sport. But with Yamaha’s turnkey car, first-time racers would be able to race, potentially in a Yamaha spec class, in the new vehicle right away.

“So much of dirt track is build your own, put your own together, and we wanted something that would be very easy for people to get into the sport,” Trester said.  “There’s so many track across the country for dirt track, and everybody who races is so passionate so we thought there could be a unique position for an easy way to get into the sport. “

The concept is powered by the 998cc R1 motorcycle engine, which Yamaha says has an output of approximately 200 hp and redlines at 14,500 rpm. The R1 engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The front suspension on the dirt track concept features adjustable dual control arms with Fox coilover shocks. Out back, the dirt tracker features an adjustable independent suspension with a sway bar and Fox coilover shocks. Hydraulic disc breaks help providing stopping power, and Yamaha says the weight of the concept is roughly 1,000 pounds.

Time will tell if this ever sees production, but it’s a very cool idea and one we have to give Yamaha credit for building.

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Chad November 24th, 2016 at 12:03 pm

would love to see this in person. Hope it gains interest for production. I’m in

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