Yamaha began competing in Formula One as an engine supplier in 1989, and using the experience it had gained during that time it wanted to build a price-no-object car based on actual Formula One technology. Even though the Formula One project was doing poorly in competition, by 1991 the team had just produced a new engine, the OX99 V12 3.5L.
Designed by Takuya Yura
Yamaha had conceived the OX99-11, but had been struggling to find a partner who could help them realize their ambition. Strangely it was the sporting goods division (with products ranging from Yachts to squash racquets), rather than the motorcycle arm, that was leading the project, and it was part of a master plan that included the Formula 1 engine program.
To support the Formula 1 project Yamaha had set up a subsidiary company called Ypsilon Technology in Milton Keynes, UK, where the engines would be serviced. The factory was chosen to be big enough to produce the OX99-11 and a small team, mostly from the Aston Martin race team, were hired to set up the factory and help engineer the car.
Canopy doors style:
Initial contact with IAD was made but it was probably through Brabham, who were using the Yamaha V12 engines in F1. IAD were a design and engineering consultancy for the motor industry, had worked on the Mazda Miata, Lincoln Town Car and Bentley Continental.
The first car we built was un-painted and used as a test hack. In order to keep the car secret, all the early testing was done at night at the Millbrook Proving Ground in the UK. It was also wind tunnel tested at MIRA in the UK.
IAD built 2 further cars, one black one red, which were used to test various systems and later used for the press launch of the car, when it was driven by John Watson the ex-formula 1 driver. We also built a rolling chassis for the launch to show off the Formula 1 inspired design. The car looked fantastic and got very good reviews. The only “independent” journalist to drive it was Paul Frere who loved it.
The price of OX99-11: $800,000 in 1992 (over $1.29 million in 2012 dollars)
As the car was so different from anything we had done before it was far from “right first time” and early testing showed it needed a lot of development on areas such as Aerodynamics and Handling. Unfortunately we did not get to do this as IAD and Yamaha had a disagreement over budgets and the project was taken away from IAD, to be completed by Yamaha’s own team at Ypsilon.
However, Ypsilon only got about 6 months to develop the car before the plug was pulled on the whole thing. The Japanese economy was taking a dive at the time and Yamaha figured they would not find enough buyers if they launched the car at that time. They promised to come back to it in a year or so, but of course things move on and it never happed.
About a year later McLaren launched their F1, which although technically superior to the Yamaha OX99-11.
The key people in development of this 90’s beauty
- Casey Yoshida – Yamaha Project Manager
- Michael Bowler – MD Ypsilon Technology and journalist
- Gary Blackham – Manufacturing Manager Ypsilon
- Robin Herd – Consultant and former MD of March F1 team
- Tino Belli – Consultant from March F1 team
- Mike Foxon – Chief Engineer IAD
- Pat Selwood – Body and manufacturing team leader
- Dave Sullivan – Chassis, suspension and powertrain team leader
Yamaha OX99-11 other specs:
- Wheelbase: 2650 mm
- Track/tread (front): 1615 mm
- Track/tread (rear): 1633 mm
- Length: 4400 mm
- Width: 2000 mm
- Height: 1220 mm
- Ground clearance: 100 mm
- Fuel tank capacity: 120 litres
- Front Suspension: Double wishbones from Aero section steel tubing, fabricated uprights, push rods to inboard coil over damper units
- Rear Suspension: Double wishbones from Aero section steel tubing, fabricated uprights, push rods to inboard coil over damper units mounted directly on gearbox.
- Tyres: Goodyear Eagle F
- Tyres front: Goodyear GS-E 245/40 ZR 17
- Tyres rear: Goodyear GS-E 315/35 ZR 17
- Brakes: AP Racing 6 piston (Front) and 4 piston (Rear) billet machined calipers with Cast Iron discs.
- Engine: Yamaha 3.5 litre V12 (De-tuned version of Formula 1 engine). Approx 400bhp at 10,000 rpm.
- Chassis: Carbon Fibre “tub” with engine mounted directly to rear bulkhead (Manufactured by DPS composites)
- Body: Aluminium panels hand made using traditional rolling techniques and hammer form tooling.
- Transmission: FF Developments 6 speed transaxle with limited slip differential and multi-plate AP racing clutch
Yamaha OX99-11 gallery
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