Hyper Pro Racer from Australia Puts Yamaha 450 WR Power on 4 Wheels

Hyper Pro Racer

Hyper Pro Racer with Yamaha 450 WR 5 valve engine

It's been a while since we talked about any motorcycle powered cars on The Kneeslider and I just got a note about the Hyper Pro Racer so I thought I'd take a look. The 5 valve Yamaha 450 WR engine is designed for dirt bikes, but the Aussies thought it would be ideal for their track car built for the Hyper Racer spec series where all cars are the same and the engine is sealed.

The car looks like a race cart on steroids with a full roll cage and 6 inch wheels, but don't let looks deceive you, the car lays down track times pretty close to the Porsche Cup racers who have to spend one helluva lot more money to do what these little guys can do. They're designed for the go kart racer moving up while keeping costs under control.

There's 4 wheel disc brakes, 5 speed gearbox, slipper clutch, Ohlins suspension, 6 point harness, all of the things you would want in a little road burner. They sell it fully assembled or as a kit, starting at $9995.

Looks like it would be a hoot out on the track and comparing time slips with that guy standing next to his Porsche would be priceless. Neat!

Link: Hyperracer

Hyper Pro Racer cockpit with quick release wheel

Hyper Pro Racer cockpit showing quick release wheel, hand shifter and surrounded by 4130 Chrome-moly chassis and roll cage


  1. says

    Reminds me of the old days on Denmarks best racetrack Jyllandsringen – The Ring of Jutland – when gocarts and yank tanks (Pontiac Firebirds and the like) would take turns holding the lap record.

  2. B50 Jim says

    Looks like the most fun you can have with your clothes on! Well, at my age….

    Drop in a good 650 and really make time!

    Ten grand for a rolling kit is quite reasonable, and a wrecked bike with a good engine shouldn’t set you back more than a couple thousand. As car racing goes, that’s a pretty cheap entry fee. Maintenance would be minimal, along the lines of a kart — check & lube the chain, check the oil & tires, and go. It takes longer to load it up. A hoot, indeed! More like an entire party!

  3. Hooligan says

    Dropping a Hyuabusa engine into that would not neccessarily get any more speed. That would just be a quicker way into the cemetary.
    I did help a friend once who was involved in the bike engined racecar series in England. Had a go in his CBR1000 Caterham framed thing. Scared me silly.

  4. B50 Jim says

    Back in the 1950s there was a series of open-wheel racers using 500cc motorcycle engines; mostly big singles –I’m not clear on the details but I have seen one on display at an auto dealership. I understand that many big-name drivers such as Sterling Moss drove them. They weren’t back-yard karts — they were serious racing machines. Just as are the Hyper Pro Racers, and they deserve all the respect any race car demands.

      • B50 Jim says

        kim —

        Thanks for filing me in. It makes sense they used Norton singles — The 500s were about as highly developed as possible at the time, and they made serious power. Unfortunately they had to contend with the blown BMWs and other multis that were appearing on the scene, and passed into history. But a good Manx, set up with modern suspension, today’s brakes and racing tires, still can make a decent showing for itself. It’s a testament to Joe Craig’s skill as a tuner. And that booming exhaust…!!!

      • wstarvingteacher says

        They also used Jawa engines although the Norton was more popular. That also gave rise to the triton (triumph engine norton frame) because Norton would not sell just engines. That left a lot of unused norton frames. There is an article that focuses on the cooper on Curbside Classics.ojuricwas

  5. todd says

    pretty awesome. If it’s REAL fun you’re after, grab as many people as possible to build up a number of 5hp roto-tiller powered, pipe framed go carts and an empty warehouse parking lot. Make sure you stay in an industrial area and convince the cops you won’t ever do it again…


    • B50 Jim says

      The cops never saw it that way when we tried running our karts in any empty parking lot. Eventually we got wise and bought “real” racing karts with 5-hp stock Briggs engines, and raced them Saturdays on a real track for actual prizes like new clutches and gasket sets. Open the case, pull out the governor mechanism, set the points at 0.022″ (no more or it won’t run), add a velocity stack and megaphone exhaust (mostly for appearance) and race ’til you drop! Keep it wide open and slow down with the brake when you have to — that’s the way to make a Briggs kart run fast. A good stock Briggs 5-horse can’t blow up. Maximum fun, minimal cost!

  6. Wave says

    They look great, but I’m not really convinced by their claims that it’s a “real race car”. It’s really just a go-kart with a roll cage. That doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be great fun to race though.

    Unfortunately, it looks like their race program at the moment will be confined to Victoria, at least to start with. If this comes to South Australia within the next couple of years I might be interested in buying one!

    • Wave says

      I’m also very impressed that they say it’s quicker than an Aussie Racing Car around Winton Raceway. Those are running 4 cylinder Yamaha engines making 125hp. Surely the 450 dirt bike engines can’t be much more than 50hp?

      • todd says

        don’t underestimate physics. The Aussie cars weigh 1000 pounds and have a much larger frontal area (though lower drag coefficient). It stands to reason that the cars are about equal except for top speed where the enclosed bodywork and windshield come in great use and cornering where the cart’s lower weight helps it greatly stick to the turns.


        • Wave says

          I don’t see why the Aussie racing cars should be much heavier though? All they are is a composite shell over a roughly similar roll cage. They also run a much larger tyre, which I would have thought would help quite a bit. The website says that the Aussie cars are quicker around Eastern Creek and slower at Winton, so as you say the high-speed aerodynamics and extra power must help a lot on the long straights.

    • tanshanomi says

      I think that with (what looks to be) full suspension, it’s definitely a step up from a race kart.

  7. Light is Good says

    I really like this. Superlight, nice torquey engine, low maintenance.

    I’d love to see one go head-to-head with a Palatov D4. It’s lighter, cheaper and less sophisticated. No diff means having to drift it ’round turns or perhaps the geometry was designed for it to lift the inside rear wheel. I can’t find any evidence of that from the numerous photos on the excellent website. Placing the engine behind the driver while still maintaining a shortish wheelbase means pushing the driver’s feet between the front wheels. This may be one of the reasons they use single wishbones instead of double wishbones in the front suspension. They say the front suspension is independent, but both sides are connected to a monoshock and there are no photos of the car with the nose cover off. I’m guessing dependent suspension at the front is good for minimising body roll as well as the camber change which comes with single-pivot single wishbones.

    In the end, the numbers tell the story: it’s fast and relatively inexpensive.

    I’m saddened to see that no sooner has it proved how fast it is, than roll the ‘what about a bigger engine?!’ brigade. People seem to be shocked and disappointed that 50hp is all you need to have a lot of fun. Racetracks have corners, people. No, I’m not referring to circle track and drag strips.

    I have more empathy for the ‘is it streetable?’ brigade, because with bigger wheels and consequenly better ground clearance it could be a great way to get around. Is it so engraved in our collective brain that we must drag around a ton of metal everywhere we go before we can feel that we are driving?

    • Decline says

      It would be a great way to get around but I just don’t see how it would become street legal without a lot of work…probably easier to just remove a wheel and call it a trike.

      • Light is Good says

        I agree, getting four-wheeled vehicles street legal is a near-impossible due to the bureacracy. If you’re an established manufacturer just churning out a thinly-disguised clone of your overweight, over-complicated market rivals, with fuel consumption and handling to match, then you sail through the approval procedure (you probably still have to hand over a large chunk of cash). Come to the market with something simple, effective, economical and safe (especially with regard to others in heavier vehicles) and the red tape will choke you.

        Quads (4-wheel ATVs) are street legal in some states and many European countries. I see this (with bigger tyres) as a street quad with a safety cage. My main point is that this kind of vehicle (single occupant, four wheels) should be more common on the streets as it uses less materials, less fuel and less space and is less dangerous to other road users than the average car.

        • Wave says

          Well, if you can live without weather protection and luggage space, then you’re better off on a motorbike. If you do want the added practicality, then a small hatchback does the job very effectively. If you want to be super-small, there are some good micro cars like the Japanese Kei cars and the VW up!

          Trying to make an open-wheeled go-kart like this one waterproof would make it look ridiculous, and the potential sales for a single-seater would be too small to make it truly mass-produced. By the time you enclose the body, add a second seat and a small luggage area you would end up with a Smart Roadster.

          • Light is Good says

            Agreed, the motorcycle is king in power/weight, affordability, fuel economy, minimal use of resources to maximum effect, small footprint, manoeuvrablility and parking in urban areas. I like them a lot – I’ve owned and ridden a few over the last ten years.

            I like small hatchbacks too – much better that people use them instead of huge gas guzzlers for all-weather commuting etc. It’s good to see that Kei cars are becoming more accepted as ‘real’ cars. But I still think there is a yawning chasm between a motorcycle weighing 180kg (400lbs) and a Kei car weighing 900kg (2000lbs). Even the Tata weighs 600kg.

            If we accept that a large proportion of cars in urban areas carry one person with very little luggage less than 30 miles, then we would conclude that the best vehicle for that specific purpose is a single-seater with minimal luggage space.

            I am not proposing to ‘commuterise’ a Hyper Pro Racer – it is a well-designed, specialized race-track machine. What I am saying that the weight, the size and the safety features indicate what is possible: 185kg, less than 8 feet long, and full CrMo spaceframe. Making a corresponding vehicle for the street would mean an increase in weight – bigger wheels, differential, heavier suspension due to more travel, weather protection etc. but it should come in around 300kg, which is a third the weight of a Kei car.

            Of course, it won’t do a host of things that a ‘real’ car can, so you’ll still need one of those, you say. In order to retain my credibility, I won’t go into my ‘only 10% of people really need a car’ rant :) But, if you have two cars on your driveway, it could be that you could easily replace one with a lightweight four-wheeled single seater.

            Okay, I’ll stop trying to sell a product which doesn’t exist (yet). Here’s hoping it will some day.

            • Paul Crowe says

              Quite a few years ago, late 60s maybe, there was an article in one of the Popular Mechanix or Mechanix Illustrated or similar magazines, about a couple of guys taking regular go karts, adding headlights on flip up extensions, taillights and a few other things, after which they licensed them for the street and drove them across the USA.

              These days, there’s no chance you could do that, the vehicle registration would be impossible, but they did it and it was a neat story. I tried to find the article, but came up short. I’ll keep digging and see if I can locate it. Of course, as luck would have it, I did see it again about a year ago, but I can’t remember how I found it.

              • Manxman says

                Stan Mott, art director for Road & Track magazine back in the early days of it’s history, drove a go kart 23K miles through 28 countries in the early 1960’s. The kart was was licensed for the street in Florida, of all places. Stan was also the creator of the wonderful Cyclops II as well as the V1 motor. Google Stan Mott and be prepared to be amazed.

              • Wave says

                @Manxman, I read that article recently on the internet, and according to Stan Mott himself, the kart was actually never legally registered anywhere. He never drove it in the US, he shipped it directly to Italy, where he attached US licence plates from another car. He drove the kart around Europe for several years without any registration or insurance, using the excuse that it was registered in the USA. In the UK, the police refused to allow him to drive it on the roads because it was unroadworthy, so he attached cardboard bodywork to it and made a run for the ferry to France at night. He did most of the trip based on being able to talk his way out of trouble. You could never do it again now.

              • Wave says

                To quote the man himself, he “attached a Florida license plate an American sailor gave me in Naples for legality, and at 2 a.m set out.”

  8. OMMAG says

    I like it ….looks like loads of fun.

    But I can’t help thinking whether a Rotax snowmobile engine would be MORE fun.

  9. rohorn says

    Not much of a car guy – but anything with an Ariel Atom connection captures my attention. Some very clever details here in keeping the balance between effectiveness, cost, and ease of tuning. I hope it works out very well!

  10. kevin says

    I like vehicles like this. They’re great for those of us who want to race but don’t have delusions of grandeur of joining the ALMS. Cheap, fun, easy maintenance, what more could you ask for.

  11. Decline says

    I hear what your saying. It does suck cause there are so many benefits to going small and light weight, even if it is just used as scooter for around town running. Safety standards just so weigh things down and keep them from ever being street legal. (surprised to hear about the quads, they are illegal on the streets everywhere I’ve lived) I’m not trying to knock safety, I’m a huge fan indeed but it is odd that I can go answer 20 questions and then legally buy a 200mph motorcycle, but I can’t slap some lights on something like this hyper pro and take it out to buy cat litter.

  12. steve w says

    Well I still race go karts and this is a larger version and more expensive. What is surprising to many is how fast small machines can be. there are many tracks across the country that don’t want to see these type machines or some go karts run because they beat the car times no matter the car type. Witness Lake Speed on his Vintage kart with dual B bombs. It’s 40 years old and still smacks speed and handling beyond full size race cars. He is not alone, just an example.

  13. Mean Monkey says

    In the mid-70’s, I bought a crashed ’72 Kaw H1 that I rebuilt and then proceeded to thrash and crash it some more. One day my neighbor came over and asked if he could buy it before I completely ruined it. He took the motor and built himself a mini-rail drag racer. That thing was quick, I’m sure it was in the “low 13’s–high 12’s” range on a quarter-mile. After that, I kind-of wished I kept the motor to build a go-kart of my own.

  14. Rob says

    I hate to agree with the big is better crowd but I can’t see this as having any more performance than a supercart. If they are trying to span the bridge between carts and Formula Ford they might need to up the motor size a little. Going from a superlight 250cc twostroke to a 450cc four stroke in a heavier vehicle must pretty much balance out the power. Though it looks like fun and seems quick enough from the inboard camera. Time will tell, good luck to them maybe it will start several classes of these safe carts with 450 being an entry level.

    • Wave says

      The designers say they are trying to replace Superkarts with something safer and cheaper to run. I can certainly see how a stock 4 stroke dirt bike engine would be cheaper to maintain than a thoroughbred racing 2-stroke, and Superkarts are basically the most dangerous racing category around, other than motorcycles.

  15. ZREXER says

    Can’t help thinking how much more fun one of these would be with a ZX-14 motor or Suzuki Hayabusa motor in it

    • Hooligan says

      As I said earlier

      Hooligan January 3, 2013 at 12:53 pm
      Dropping a Hyuabusa engine into that would not neccessarily get any more speed. That would just be a quicker way into the cemetary.