The last Proton car to taste success on the dirt was the iconic yellow Proton Satria Neo S2000 which took top honours at the 2011 Asia Pacific Rally Championship. Since then, Proton went off the map of international rally, that is until the Proton Iriz R5 rally car was teased online.
The picture was leaked by on Instagram from a Spanish rallying site, stating – through their caption – that the Iriz R5 will mark Proton’s reentry into world rallying. A few months ago, another post on social media also hinted at the same comeback . Apparently, UK-based Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM) is now working on a new Proton rally car. It’s puzzling why this MEM-prepared Iriz ended up in Spain, though.
The R5 moniker is a clear sign that the Iriz will not be competing with the big boys from the World Rally Championship (WRC) series. The R5 category is actually a category for cars powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, have a minimum weight of 1,230 kg, and are all-wheel driven.
A typical R5 rally car consists of mainly B-segment superminis, ranging from Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia, Peugeot 208, Citroen DS3 and Mitsubishi Mirage. These cars are eligible to compete in the second highest class in the WRC, the WRC2. Pricing for an R5 car is capped at 180,000 Euros (RM820k+ based on today’s rates).
Judging from the image, this Iriz has extended wheel arches with huge air intercoolers at the front. Everything beyond that remains a mystery, for now. Also, this Iriz rally car is unrelated to Proton R3’s pet project, which means the Iriz R5 is an independent effort by Proton.
Watch this space for the official unveiling of the Proton Iriz R5 Rally Car!