Team RX Racing, a UK-based rallycross team, has announced that it will be fielding a modified Proton Iriz for next year’s FIA-accredited World Rallycross Championship events, marking the first time that a Proton model has taken part in the sport!
The Proton Iriz rallycross supercar, called the Proton Iriz RX, will be built in conjunction with Tony Bardy Motorsport (TBM) and Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM). Taking on the base platform of MEM’s “highly-regarded” Iriz R5 rally car, the Iriz RX will receive a new bodyshell, alongside purpose-built rallycross parts and modifications.
“The car is based on the successful Iriz R5, but it is also an all-new fresh build,” said Team RX Racing principal and lead driver, Ollie O’Donovan. “There’s a huge amount of work to do before we can even think about the first roll-out, but I already can’t wait to get behind wheel in testing, and then to race the car at some of the best rallycross circuits in the world.”
Aside from the World Rallycross Championships, Team RX Racing will also be competing in the British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy, as well as the European Rallycross Championship with their new Proton Iriz RX Supercar.
According to Ollie, the team chose the Proton Iriz as their new Rallycross racer because they wanted to “do something different”. “The easy option would have been to buy a car from the World Championship, but we wanted to do something different, to stand out from the crowd.”
Tony Bardy of TBM added: “It didn’t take us long to decide that this is the way to go, to create the first Proton rallycross Supercar. The team at MEM want to do this, and they’re committed to making it work … The quality of the Iriz R5 is high, and to be involved in this new project with the Iriz RX is a breath of fresh air.
“The Iriz has already done lots of rallies and proved the concept, so as long as we can get comparable power from the engine to what we have now, which I’m sure we can, I see no reason why we can’t be right where we want to be.”
Based on the latest World RX regulations for the Supercar category, the Iriz RX will be equipped with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, pushing out roughly 600 hp to all four wheels. 0-100 km/h in one of these cars take just 1.9 seconds, which is even faster than a Formula 1 car!
And according to the guys that built the original Iriz R5 rally car, there wasn’t much that they had to change in order to turn the B-segment hatchback into a rallycross racer. MEM team principal Chris Mellors said, “When we built the Iriz R5 originally, we had in the back of our mind that we might like to do some rallycross, so it was a bit over-engineered in some areas from the start.
“Although the Iriz is very short, it has one of the longest wheelbases of the R5 cars, with very good suspension travel and fabulous front geometry, from Proton’s original design. We’ve got a lot of adjustment available, and we’re going to need to make some specialist components to best suit a rallycross setup, but we’re not far away already.
“We’re very excited, both Ollie and Tony have vast rallycross experience, and it’s great to have a collaboration for this project to see what we can achieve together … We’ve had some very positive rally tests recently, and we’re getting stuck into the build of the new car now. We like winning and that’s what we want to be doing with this project too.”
It’s great to see that the universally-beloved Proton Iriz is achieving such heights in the motorsports scene, both locally and internationally. And Proton – hint hint, nudge nudge – perhaps it’s time to revisit the souped-up Proton Iriz R3, yes?