Last weekend, the Ferrari Challenge contingent whizzed around the Sepang Circuit at literal break-neck speeds. Proton too, was present there that weekend. The R3 team to be specific. And at the wheel was our country’s very own Prince of Drift, better known to most as Tengku Djan Ley who piloted the Iriz R3 to victory.
Prior to Sunday’s win, we had the chance to meet the team and their machines hiding within the pit garage. Amidst his hectic schedule, Tengku Djan spared a moment to elaborate more on the development and progress of the Iriz R3 project and quickly briefed us on what makes the new Iriz R3 tick.
Proton R3’s patriarch and technical director kept a hawk’s-eye view on the Iriz’s development. Here are some facts and figures on the Iriz R3. It’s running a 1,599cc four-pot Campro CFE engine with a turbo-delete. The engine block is race-prepped with all the racing goodies but is done so while adhering to Malaysian Touring Car (MTC) regulations. It makes 190 hp at a smudge under the redline and makes a broadly similar torque figure as well.
Power is shot to the front wheels via an MTC regulated five-speed ‘dog-leg’ gearbox. Expect no fancy interiors, there is just the bare essentials like a roll cage, racing seat, switch board and – you guessed it, a steering wheel. The boot now houses a 60-litre endurance racing fuel tank. Alcon lends it hand here with a set of cross-drilled ventilated discs on all fours at a maximum diametre of 305mm.
Weight plays a crucial part in adhering to MTC regulations, which states that all cars are to tip the scales at under a tonne. Easy for the Iriz, but same couldn’t be said for its bigger siblings, the Preve and Suprima S models whose diet was much more severe. By the book, the cars are mandated to use the factory steel skin on the outside. Tengku Djan said the Iriz was a much simpler out-of-the-box project as compared to the Preve and Suprima, both of which took about eight months to fine tune.
Speaking with regards to the Sepang 1,000km Endurance Race (S1K), Tengku Djan was excited about how the car performed here at the Malaysian Championship Series (MCS). And of the tyres, Djan said he had no complaints at all for the medium compound Hankook-sponsored rubbers. “The tyres allowed us to have quicker pit-stops and better consistency on track”, said Djan. However, his preference would be hard compound tyres if he were to race in S1K.
Tengku Djan also spoke on the possibility of using turbocharged CFE Campro engines for the next season, but took a step back by saying that the team isn’t fully prepared as yet. With Djan spearheading the chassis development of the cars, all he needs is a powerful and reliable drivetrain to dominate the race. Time will tell, we reckon.
The team will take part in the S1K race later in the year, but doubts are in the air if defending champion Tengku Djan will be the person behind the wheel. This year, another prominent homegrown racing series, Merdeka Millennium Race (MMER), will not see Proton’s R3 division gunning the tracks – a series which only runs the GT3 class at present. Djan jokingly said that he would love to drive a Ferrari Challenge car for the MMER, though.
That said, we at Autobuzz.my would like to wish Tengku Djan Ley, Fariqe Hairuman, James Veerapen and Syafiq Ali the best of luck in the upcoming S1K endurance race, and congratulations on their podium finish at last weekend’s race.