In what is perhaps the most exciting news with regards to our national carmaker, Proton, is their return to the WRC stage. This time, it’s with Proton Iriz R5.
Proton is not in charge of building the WRC car though, instead most – if not all – efforts are by British firm Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM) who is no stranger to Proton. Remember the glory days of Proton in the WRC? It’s by the same guys, and that says a lot about the trust they have in Proton’s products. Among the cars built by this Derbyshire based company include the Proton PERT (based on the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 6) and the legendary Proton Satria Neo S2000.
According to MEM’s founder, Chris Mellors, their collaboration with Proton began last year and he believes the size and shape of the Iriz is perfect for rallying. Given its solid chassis, all it needs is a good engine and guess what… they’re slapping on a Mitsubishi 4B11T engine detuned to 1,600cc. That’s right. It’s the same engine that powers the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X!
The Iriz R5 is also equipped wit Xtrac transmission, Reiger dampers, Brembo brakes and Cosworth electronics. The car will compete in the R5 category, the second fastest class in WRC and eligible for WRC2 category. The Iriz will compete against the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia, and many more.
MEM is set to debut the Proton Iriz R5 at the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK next month. The car is expected for go for homologation by January 2018 before competition begins.