Satria R3: Life at 2000 clicks

“Tweet tweet, tweet tweet”, goes the stock alarm of the black stallion some of us know as the Satria R3. Then the Captor. I open the unfamiliar door and wiggle my way into those snuggly red-black Recaro SR4 semi-bucket seats. Adjusting it slightly for optimum reach and leg positioning, I grip excitedly on the MOMO Tuner steering. Keys in the ignition, crank. I am greeted by an enthusiastic growl then muted burble. My heart races.

Fast forward 2,000 kilometres. It’s amazing. It’s been a month since that fateful day I collected my car. Many days of driving pleasure no doubt! My first impressions of the nippy sudo-race car were positive, although slightly marred by the usual Proton QC problems like power windows, flimsy plastics and questionable installation quality. And drive, I did, while considering suitable fuel to feed the tuned 4G93P lump.

The 3,000rpm threshold and simultaneously the 105km/h maximum speed curtain, was finally breached at 1,000 clicks. And much to my delight too – impatient old me (I’m 30. I’m old)! As mentioned in my first impressions of the limited edition car, this lightweight 995kgs speedster begs to be driven fast – and not so much because it is an eager performer, but rather much more accredited to its ride and handling prowess. Thanks to personal efforts of Tengku Djan, head honcho at Proton Motorsports (R3), in tuning the suspension, the Satria R3 is an exceptionally confident drive, especially at high speeds. Even as early as the first week, I had found a favourite stretch of twisty road to put the suspension into serious testing, albeit not at full speed.

Now that the SR3 is partially run-in and survived its first service at a much delayed 1,980kms, I’ve gradually raised my self-assessed run-in limits of the car to 4,000rpm/145km/h. Being impatient and somewhat self-indulgent however, the semi-virgin SR3 has seen 160km/h @ 4,500rpm on corners at some instances. Mind you, I am one of the gentler SR3 owners amongst the 20-odd in the market currently. Cars no.6, 8 and 9 have already reached the 200km/h barrier, and with ease too. Sousuke, owner of car no.9 has even de-catted his SR3 already.

Here is some feedback at 2,000 kilometres:

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Exterior
The overall styling is good. From the Incognito Black paintjob, which by the way isn’t the best quality paintjob I’ve seen, to the unique race-bred red+white R3 stripes, the SR3 screams “look at me”. This has been apparent over the past month of driving (or not driving) the car. People stop. Look. Stare. Look again. There has been countless times where a Satria would tail me, run alongside the car, have a look then speed off. There is a lot of attention from Satria and SGTi owners I must say. Some curious, others merely wanting a close look of the SR3 in action. This car has presence, without a doubt. This car will, and I believe already has, inspired knock-offs as spotted by a few in the motorsports fraternity. Copying, as they say, is a form of flattery. On the subject of tailing the SR3, I notice people tend to drive faster once they realise that it is a SR3 they are tailing. Through some wierd reality distorting competitive spirit, cars of myriad makes – from Proton Wajas, Wiras, Satrias, SGTis, Putras; to Perodua Kancils, Honda Civics and BMWs, tend to attempt to test the pace of the SR3. I am hardly obliging most of the time, as the car hasn’t truly run-in, but normal roads aren’t meant for racing anyway.

Interior
I’ve said it numerous times and I’ll say it again. I love the Recaros. They hold you in place, firmly without complaint, as you take those blinding corners. Simply lovely. I haven’t much to say about the rest of the interior styling, none of which I haven’t commented on before anyways. One thing’s for certain – the removal of the flimsy aluminium pedals. An EVO/Ralliart set would have done the job. Instead, R3 had installed the same set which is used on the Wira SE, which I find too small and of poor quality. I have coincidently ordered a carbon fibre (Sparco knock-off) from fellow Team Matrix member Andrew which should arrive in 3-4 weeks time.

The dreaded coin box has only dropped open uninvited once, which is good news indeed. The power windows on the other hand, were giving me some problems within the first week I collected the car. It would misalign halfway upwards and get stuck. My first service sorted the problem out, which I would think be a simple lubricant job to save the day.

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Performance
The SR3 is an eager-beaver although for some reason I feel it to be laggy after the first service. It does feel very much smoother, but it has an apparent loss of response in the low end. I am wondering if it’s the PiperCross drop-in filter I plonked in after my service, or perhaps the engine gone slightly out of tune. Might need to check my ignition timing (5 degrees BTDC, as mentioned by Andrew) and recheck the installation of the performance filter. I will be installing a cold-air induction kit, also from PiperCross, transferred from my previous ride. That complaint aside, the SR3 pulls eagerly and easily reaches 150-160km/h. Taking advantage of its low to mid-range torque and its lightweight body, the SR3 would pin you to your seat if you floor it. Nice. I am eager to put it through its paces at SIC and also do a dyno session.

Summary + Ending Notes
This car is an addictive drive. A confident, zippy machine. It is a car for someone who enjoys driving first and foremost. And drives well it does. Future engine mods should put it in good stead amongst other more powerful cars, looking at its able chassis. I am eagerly awaiting Stage 2 engine and suspension mods to be made available by R3 this year.

Future mods
Several mods have been planned for my SR3, and should see them being installed within the month or so.

Stage 1
PiperCross CAI (from previous ride)
K-Speed red anodised racing lug nuts
Pivot Raizin Grounding Kit + Volt Stabilizer
CF sports pedals
APM bonnet lifters (from previous ride)
EcoTint Gold Dust tinting

I will also be looking at getting a set of 15″ lightweight rims wrapped in Yoko rubber for track duties. Keeping my eyes peeled for cheap SSRs or TE37s.

Well, so much to say but pointless. It’s all about driving and the other SR3 owners would tend to agree. I look forward to a couple of thousand more kilometres before I can declare the car properly run in. Till then, let’s DRIVE!

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