Laaks-Yamaha YZF-R1: Superbike for 2004?
High tech and endless power ?? these were the goals of Yamaha dealer Theo Laaks for his R1. With a little intervention, it becomes a 2004 Superbike.
Theo Laaks, Yamaha dealer and team boss of the German supersport champion Michael Schulten, actually wanted to show that it is also possible to use a super sporty series motorcycle like the Yamaha YZF-R1 as a competitive racer for the new MotoGP World Championship 990 cm³ to build. There is a rule that only prototypes are allowed in the premier class. “But this rule,” says Laaks, “initially only applies until the end of 2004. And after that, the private teams need a replacement for their 500 two-stroke engine, which is perhaps cheaper than some exotic, million-dollar so-called factory engine, which is no longer good . “
As a result of the rules that have now also been changed in the Superbike World Championship, the project has been given a new topicality alongside the pure feasibility study. At the beginning of 2004, probably even as early as 2003, all engines in the Superbike World Championship will have a displacement of 1000 cm3, but with different inlet cross-sections for the air sucked into the airbox, depending on the number of cylinders. For the four-cylinder fraction, this part of the upcoming Superbike World Championship regulations reads extremely drastically at first. The restrictor in the airbox leaves a diameter of just 26.3 millimeters or two 18.7 millimeters open. The air that the engines breathe is therefore quite thin. Two-cylinder engines are allowed to breathe a little more freely, but are also constricted. The limit here is 30 millimeters with one inlet or two times 21.5.
“Since the previously known rules do not yet specify the length to which the reduced diameter must be adhered to, we were forced to interpret the regulations at this point from a logical point of view,” explains the master tuner Millimeter. Because if only one disk with the prescribed diameter were installed, practically no power would be left over. ”
Even the technician Laaks is very surprised by the result of the built-in restrictor. The throttling suggests a drastic drop in performance in view of the much smaller openings in the airbox. “But we only lose around ten horsepower peak power,” says Laaks after the test bench tests, “and the entire power curve is even more homogeneous than in the open version. The machine should therefore be almost easier to drive with the throttle. «178 HP on the crankshaft instead of 189 in the open version, each at 14,200 rpm, show above all that such a throttle would do its job quite well: in this range roughly also today’s superbikes. According to the new regulations, the performance of the machines would at least be maintained.
But how does it look in practice? Laaks’ regular driver Michael Schulten is extremely impressed on the first outings of the unbridled powerhouse on the Spanish racetracks of Fuente Alamo and Almeria and probably thinks of the fighting bulls native to the Iberian Peninsula not only because of the aggressive design of his new helmet. “Without the restrictor, you can hardly bring the front wheel to the ground with the R1”, the champion is amazed, “an unbelievable and, above all, extremely violent power delivery. In terms of chassis development, we are of course still at the very beginning, so we will still teach the beast a lot of manners along the way. Nevertheless, it will always be a wild ride on this part. “
The Laaks-R1 with the restrictors in the airbox presents itself a little more civilized, yet energetic enough. “There is a little more regularity in all areas,” says Schulten, “without the feeling that I am really slower.” Unfortunately, exact lap time comparisons fell through on the one hand because of the inconsistent weather in the literal sense of the word, on the other hand because of a defect in the circuit that forced the poor miracle engine on its maiden voyage in regions beyond 18,000 rpm and thus literally turned it off.
But apart from the engine, which has been modified to a large extent in accordance with the Superbike regulations with its internals such as cylinders, cylinder head, pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft and of course the exhaust system, as well as an expansive cooling system, compared to the series, the Laaks development agency shows extremely interesting details. For example the thumb rear wheel brake, set with progressive braking force analogous to the respective thumb pressure, which completely replaces the disused conventional foot brake.
Master Theo Laaks is particularly proud of his unique anti-hopping clutch, for which he has a patent. The slip function of the clutch no longer has to be regulated by the driver himself using the clutch lever, but works depending on the throttle grip. “With the throttle closed by the driver in front of the curve, the clutch is separated by eight to twelve percent, depending on the setting,” explains Laaks his patent. “This almost completely eliminates the four-stroke rear wheel jarring when braking, which is particularly pronounced in large-displacement machines is. “
M.ith this special clutch, with a lot of goodwill, one could endorse a prototype status for Laaks-Yamaha, but irony aside: This R1 already shows that in the medium-term future, top-class and, above all, technically extremely interesting machines at manageable costs can run. It remains to be seen whether this will “only” be the case in the Superbike World Championship or also for private riders in MotoGP. It is a pity that until then, the only playground for the potent R1 bull is the little-noticed Open Extreme Trophy. MOTORRAD will still not lose sight of him.
Specifications – YAMAHA YZF-R1
Engine: water-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, five valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, Mikuni constant pressure carburetor, Ø 40 mm, digital transistor ignition, secondary air system (AIS), electric starter, three-phase alternator 325 W, battery 12 V / 10 Ah. Bore x stroke 74 x 58 mm, displacement 998 cm³, compression ratio 11.8: 1, rated output 110 kW (150 PS) at 10,000 rpm, max. Torque 108 Nm (11 kpm) at 8500 rpm Power transmission: primary drive via gear wheels, mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain, secondary ratio 43:16. Chassis: Bridge frame made of aluminum profiles, supporting motor, upside-down fork, Guide tube diameter 41 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, two-arm swing arm with upper pulls made of aluminum profiles, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, double disc brake at the front, four-piston calipers, floating brake discs, Ø 298 mm, rear disc brake, Ø 245 mm Two-piston caliper, cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 6.00 x 17 tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/50 ZR 17 Chassis data: wheelbase 1395 mm, steering head angle 66 degrees, caster 92 mm, spring travel f / h 135/130 mm. Dimensions and weights L / W / H 2040/780/1140 mmSeat height 820 mmTurning circle 6720 mmWeight fully fueled 204 kg Permissible total weight * 395 kg Load 191 kg Wheel load distribution f / h 51/49% tank capacity / reserve * 18 / 5.5 liters Guarantee two years with unlimited mileageColors red / white, blue / white, output variants 72 kW (98 PS) Price including VAT 24 135 marks Additional costs 365 marks
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