Proton to return to WRC in 2018 with new Iriz R5

Proton Iriz R5 WRC

After a four-year hiatus, Proton is set to scorch the dirt trails of the World Rally Championship again. British firm MEM is developing a brand new Iriz R5 rally race car to compete in 2018.

Previously, Chris Mellors’ MEM firm also built the impressive Satria Neo Super 2000 rally car. The car was a podium-finisher in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), and a title-winner in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship series (APRC).

According to Mellors, MEM was excited with the Iriz road car and thinks it’s a great base car. He also thinks its size and shape are perfect for rallying.

The overall length of the car is shorter than the Satria, but the wheelbase is longer. The strut tops are in the right place with lots of frontal area to aid cooling.

The powerplant is the powerful Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X engine, downsized to 1600cc.

The car will be equipped with Xtrac transmission, 4WD drivetrain, Reiger dampers, Brembo brakes and Cosworth electronics.

Proton Satria Neo Super 2000
Credit: Proton Motorsports

MEM’s intention is to enter the R5-class car in both WRC-2 and the APRC. The car will be available in both left and right-hand drive, and is expected to be ready for 1 January 2018 homologation.

The pocket rocket will compete with the likes of the Citroen DS3 R5, Ford Fiesta R5, Peugeot 208 R5, Mitsubishi Mirage R5, Skoda Fabia R5, Hyundai i20 R5 and Toyota Etios R5.

Group R5 cars compete in the WTC-2 alongside existing Super 2000 and Group N Production Cars.

Mellors added that Proton never lost interest and desire in rallying. However, after the Satria, it had no other car platforms for rallying.

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The new Iriz is currently under testing and development at MEM’s Derbyshire factory. It is set for a debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed next month.

To check out Proton Motorsports’ other endeavours, visit Proton Motorsports R3 FB page.

Source: Autosport.com | Official photos by Chicane Media

Proton Satria Neo Super 2000
Proton’s coming back to the WRC | Pic cred: Proton Motorsports

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