Mike Follmer’s #1: R&D Yamaha FZR Off Shore Endurance
Appreciating Mike Follmer’s racing achievements, R&D prepared a special performance package that combines good top speed and low fuel consumption while with the demanding reliability needed to finish first in any Off-Shore Endurance race events.
Words: Vasilis Moraitis
Test Rider:Vasilis Moraitis
Mike Follmer has been in the racing scene of personal watercrafts since 1994 and is well known for his Off-Shore Endurance Racing achievements. Coming from a racing family that includes his uncle, the famous Auto Racing Hall of Fame, George Follmer was enough for Mike to grow as a crew member for a variety of motor racing teams. He entered the pwc scene as a racer in 1995 and won that first race on a Yamaha 701 Raider in San Felipe Mexico. Four years later he signed a contract with Yamaha Motor Corporation and became a Factory rider. He has won numerous races and titles in Off-Shore Endurance racing and has become an expertise in this field.
Through, R&D’s management and particularly Glenn Dickinson, I managed to contact him earlier this year in order to learn more about his successful career as well as his specially prepared Off-Shore Yamaha FZR by R&D. Glenn assured me than after the World Finals, Mike Follmer was planning to visit Lake Havasu City in order to perform this particular test.
The opportunity was great, one of a kind I would say, since at the same time I was testing along with Bill Chapin the updates of R&D’s Limited FZR. Traffic at Body Beach was at a minimum level since the foreign racers had already flown back home. Therefore the test field was free for our test. Having side by side R&D’s Limited FZR was very crucial since I was actually going to test and compare too different performance recipes made by the same company.
On the water
Riding Mike Follmer’s FZR gave me the opportunity to find out more about the overall set up of the Off-Shore Endurance race crafts. It has nothing in common with the other race prepared packages (Pro Stock, Pro Limited and Open) that R&D offers for Yamaha FZR, since absolute horsepower gain is not an issue in this class. The overall set up is based upon increased reliability and keeping the engine performance higher (it produces over 300 hp) than the stock package that Yamaha has to offer, but still keeping the fuel consumption at a reasonable level.
The engine sounded nearly stock while pressing the ignition button with the slightest difference of the crispier noise that most probably occurred due to the aftermarket air filter and the R&D C5 Supercharger wheel. I warmed up the engine for a minute or so before grabbing the stock trigger lever of Follmer’s FZR.
While accelerating from idle, presents a small of idle-very low rpm hesitation and then it kicks slightly to inform you that the power is there. It is the kind of hesitation that you do not want on a close race set up race craft. Then the craft accelerated smoothly and progressively up to its top speed with absolutely no hick-ups at all. Very interesting was the fact that its top speed was topping 80mph (actually it was 81mph) and it felt really stable and predictable even at this kind of speed. That is an astonishing result for an Off-Shore Endurance set up since two years ago Team Kawasaki’s Ultra Off-Shore Endurance race craft was clocking 76mph. The power in this package has more duration and spreads linearly from the point it kicks till the top of the rpm scale. This kind of power delivery will not scare even the medium level rider or the weekend warrior that wishes to drag race along with his friends from one shore to another. The particular race craft gets even more interesting if you bear in mind that the engine operates in 100octane gas and not race gas. This proves that the overall tuning made by R&D provides remarkable power and top speed gain without sacrificing the resulting in an expensive racing platform. Chapin assured me that this Off-Shore package is very reliable and does not affect seriously fuel consumption since the later is almost at the same level as of the stock engine.
Visualizing the usual mini-close course set by locals at Body Beach I started practicing around in order to test the crafts engine performance under these conditions. Certainly it was faster than the stock Yamaha FZR, or even a Pro Stock one, though it could not accelerate as fast as R&D’s Limited FZR either on tight turns or sweepers. Stability wise Follmer’s FZR was very predictable and I could ride it at full throttle without sweating or getting my heart beating faster. In this section, R&D has done its homework very well and riding R&D’s Limited with the similar handling set up proved that I was correct in my initial judgement.
Engine and hull set up parts are listed below and whoever is interested on getting the same kind of performance out of their Yamaha should acquire R&D’s Off-Shore Endurance package since it is race tested and proven by Mike Follmer.
Mike Follmer’s #1: R&D Yamaha FZR Off-Shore Endurance
Yamaha FZR engine
R&D C5 Supercharger wheel
R&D Pro Series Intercooler kit
R&D Powershot adjustable fuel tuner
R&D Fuel pressure regulator
R&D enhanced Cooling kit
R&D air filter kit
Fuel: 100 octane Leaded race gas (105 octane F&L Fuel in Endurance racing)
R&D re-flashed stock ECU, with R3 ignition program which has a peak timing of 20degrees at 8400-8500 rpm at 16 pounds of boost
Pump and Driveline
R&D Pump cone
Skat-Trak Twin Prop re-pitched impeller by Bill Chapin
R&D auto drop nozzle
R&D FZR VTS Quick shift cam system
Hull and Handling components
Yamaha stock hull, deck and hood
R&D intake grate
R&D pump seal kit
R&D adjustable ride plate
R&D sponsons with deep blades
Stock seat modified by Hyrdo-Turf
Lee Manvell’s carbon rear seat unit
Stock steering system
Boost pressure gauge
YAMAHA Motor Corporation U.S.A., R&D Products, Motul Oils, Hydro Turf, Monster Energy, Skat-Trak, NGK, Oakley, Simpson helmets, Jet Pilot, Riva, F&L Racing Fuels, Walt’s Motorsports.
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