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concept

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1998

Jon Crooke makes the first 'napkin' sketches of the Hyper PRO Racer, a concept he has had floating around in his head since the mid eighties.

The former Australian Formula 2 Champion and GpA HDT- Brock works driver, has a vision to produce a small racing vehicle for long circuit racing. It will be an affordable step up from go-karts or superkarts and will incorporate safety features unheard of in karting.

With budgets of $250,000 plus to run a Formula Ford at National level, the Hyper PRO Racer will hit the market at around $3
0,000 ready to race. The Pro Racer will provide a 'real' solution to to current class gap.

He calls the project "The Missing Link".

The first sketches feature design concepts such as the exposed space frame with the inside-out cockpit, the swingarm rear suspension, exposed mono-shocks front and rear, the longitudinal cockpit intrusion bars and the tube hugging body details - all features that will make it through to the final design.
 

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Crooke's 'napkin' sketches

He passes his sketches over to Peter Hughes, then a junior designer with Holden, who will go on to design the VE Commodore. Hughes renders the Hyper PRO Racer concept and Crooke makes tentative plans to produce the vehicle.

1999
Jon Crooke shelves the project due to commitments with his company Hyper Stimulator and a lack of the right people to take the PRO Racer project forward.

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Hughes' rendering.
 

function

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2005
Dean Crooke, who had spent his junior years racing Sprint Karts and then Superkarts, is dragged back from the clutches of MA Motocross and makes a return to racing Superkarts as a senior driver.

Both he and Jon decide to design and build a new style of Superkart. They call it the Hyper MAX Racer.

This beautiful and innovative racing machine will go on to awaken the dormant Superkart community, becoming the biggest 'THING' in Australian Superkart history and a portent of even bigger things to come.


2006
Dean Crooke dominates the Victorian racing scene and Hyper begins to sell Hyper MAX Racers. Overseas markets start buying body kits and steering wheels.

Dean and Jon decide to resurrect the PRO Racer concept. With their combined driving experience, Jon's design and marketing skills and Deans design and engineering abilities, they form the perfect team to move the project forward.

Jon starts sketching again. Their vision is becoming more focused, with suspension design, component selection and placement and bodywork placement taking shape.


2007
Dean and Jon spend the year developing the Mk 2 MAX Racer and their drivers win National and State Championships.

The demand for Hyper MAX Racer production means that the Hyper PRO Racer is put on the backburner again.


2008
Success for the third year in a row, as Dean Crooke dominates the National and State racing scenes.

Hyper sells it's first complete ready to race Hyper MAX Racers overseas.

Dean and Jon further research and brainstorm the PRO Racer and Jon develops the 3D CAD engineering drawings.

YAMAHA AUSTRALIA comes on board with the OEM supply of Yamaha 450WR 4-stroke engines.

 

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The Hyper MAX Racer.

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chassis

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style

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2008
Two design divisions are implemented - a 'main' division and a 'youth' division.

The 'main' division will address the overall design - chassis and bodywork. This will be Jon and Dean Crooke's responsibility.

The 'youth' division will look at the product - specificaly body work - from a youth perspective, as the youth market will be a large part of Hyper's marketing stratagy. To achieve this, it is decided to engage some young designers on the project.

Jon and Dean will provide these designers with a strict design brief that includes the 3D CAD model, restricted areas for bodywork, fixed component areas within the bodywork as well as the need to include essential specified design cues within their designs, such as keeping the tube frame exposed, exposing the shock absorbers, incorporating head lights, a front diffuser, small farings over the swing arms, tow hooks to name a few.


2008 - August
Hyper engages three young stylists from Swinburne University Design department, Mat Lewis, Matthew Blythman and Daniel Fitzgerald, to pen some visual bodywork concepts over the engineering drawings.

2008 - October
In mid October, Hyper engages Johannas Collopy, who has just won the 'WHEELS Young Designer of the Year' award, to also pen some visual bodywork concepts.

At this point it is decided not to let Johannas and the Swinburne team know about the existence of the other. This is done in the interests of eliminating any collaborative effects on the designs.


2008 - December
The first bodywork sketches are distributed to a large number of industry related people and potential customers with an interest in the project, and with the initial feedback, it is apparent that the Collopy, Lewis and Blythman sketches have received the most positive feedback.

Collopy's bodywork sketches most successfully address the design brief and several of his ideas will be incorporated into the final design.

The prolific Mat Lewis continues to work on his body concepts.

Matt Blythman accepts an overseas posting and is temporally lost to the project.

Both Lewis and Blythman's concepts are examples of alternative body shell concepts that may be implemented at a later date.

Jon Crooke also continues to develop his bodywork concepts.

Collopy, Lewis and Blythman - along with Fitzgerald, will continue to be involved in the project, with input into exterior detailing, interior design and detailing and marketing material, right up until market launch.

Jon and Dean Crooke are providing an opportunity for these young designers to work along side them in an existing design and engineering environment and on a 'real' project, to gain experience in how to integrate their ideas into the overall design and construction process.
 

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2009 - March
Jon completes his final bodywork concept drawings, incorporating several features from Collopy's sketches into his final design.

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Final Concept - Jon Crooke

2009 - April
One of the key marketing features of the PRO Racer is the F1 style cockpit. It had been planned to use the steering wheel designed for the MAX Racer, but in Formula One, the design of steering wheels has moved on, and with our aim to be totally cutting edge, we have decided to produce a new 'state of the art' wheel (see preliminary sketch right). The development of the grip moulds will be an expensive project and the extra funding for this part of the project has been made possible by Tony Bennett, one of our enthusiastic backers. Thank you Tony. From this day forth, the wheel will be know as the "Bennett Wheel"

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prototype

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2009 - February
Dean and Jon have now begun working full time on the Hyper PRO Racer. Dean, after heading up the manufacturing division of a sprint kart company, Phoenix Karts, and with the construction of over 400 karts, plus his own Hyper MAX Racers, under his belt, will now focus totally on the construction and testing of the PRO Racer.

A mock-up of the frame is built from the CAD drawings and drivers of various sizes are invited to try it on for size.

Brake manufacturer Steve Dent in South Australia, agrees to build calipers and master cylinders. The brake rotors are designed and will be produced in Queensland.

Steve Cramer comes on-board to provide Ohlins shock absorbers and will be involved in the track development of the final specification for the units.

Steve Dent and Steve Cramer are both highly respected in their fields and it is exciting to have them on-board for the project.
 

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Final chassis drawings are completed.
 

2009
Shaun Trounson joins us as our composite engineer. Shaun has many years of experience in composite construction and fabrication in the automotive industry and in particular the motor racing field. His carbonfiber work is unparalled in the industry.

Shaun is an active driver in the Superkarts.

Late March
Work is underway on the prototype chrome molly chassis.

Late April
The main chassis structure, rear swing arm and front suspension are in place. At this point decisions have been made regarding wheelbase, track, ride height, roll centres, weight distribution, suspension travel, caster, camber, KPI, scrub radius, toe, steering ratio, slip angles, anti-dive and ackermann geometry. Work has started on the safety cell.

Mid May
The safety cell is done. Shocks are mounted.

Late June
The construction of the PRO Racer (less body panels) is essentially finished.

Early August
The first shake down runs have been conducted. Over 500 laps at various circuits were completed. The tests were an unqualified success. Work has started on the body panels.

December
Dean and Jon complete the rough plugs for the right side of the body, and with input from Johannas Collopy, the fine detailing such as highlight lines, chamfers and surface resolution details are added.

2010
February
The majority of the plugs are completed

March
The moulds are completed. Many small design revisions are made to the suspension and cockpit ergonomics.

April
Shaun Trounson finishes the moulds and the first panels are made.

The first panels are completed and test fitted to the car.
 

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Development driver, Dean Crooke, chassis testing at Calder Raceway, Australia.


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production

2010 July

PRODUCTION COMMENCED

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DOWNLOAD a FREE eBook version of the Hyper PRO Racer coffee table book.
Copyright 2012. Dean Crooke.

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