The announcement and release of the Satria R3 by Proton Motorsports has aroused plenty of interest amongst the local autoscene, judging by postings in popular forums such as Zerotohundred, Team Matrix Motorsports and Race Rally Research.

Generally speaking, there has been a lot of positive feedback, although some skeptics remain, well, skeptical. The ever popular remark – “it’s still a Proton” still proves naysayers are abound, which is good for Proton if feedback in constructive. I hope though, in time to come, that the negative mentality and mindset will change with the introduction of R3, and the efforts of Proton Motorsports.

I offer a rebuttal on some key points on a posting left by an anonymous reader (thanks for reading and commenting!) pertaining the R3 a couple of days ago.

Here goes nothing:

As published and announced, it will be priced the same as a normal GTi, as published in the Race Rally Research forums.

I am not sure if you’ve seen the R3 cars in action, but these cars are plenty fast and handles like they are on rails. Of course, these are the white ones seen at the Street Shootout (SSO/Proton Day) events, higher spec-ced no doubt.

Strut bars + Suspension
Anyone’s guess on the cost, but strut bars with a properly tuned suspension and re-inforced chassis (double-welded) does wonders to handling. I am pretty confident that the R3 team has got this covered. Tengku Djan, head of Proton Motorsports, is a chassis expert trained at Lotus, and has vast experience in racing. Adian, head of Special Projects, a skillful driver as seen with Team Matspeed previously, is also experience and knowledgeable. The R3 team are hardcore enthusiasts, and committed to performance cars. All I’m saying is that they know what they are doing, and have proven their input in putting together the R3 cars.

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Wheels + Rubber
The 16″ are Advanti Racing lightweight alloys, not local crap like JRD, AAC, on the likes of other Proton models. I would think it would cost at least RM2K. The excellent Yokohama Neova AD07s are about RM400 each.

You are right about this, as this is mass produced, and brought over from the SGTi.

Ventilated Discs
I agree the ventilated discs on the rear is somewhat overkill, as it isn’t exactly a 300bhp powered vehicle. No specs on how large the front discs are, but the Mintex pads supplied are nice.

The post-Mitsu 4G93 is a pretty sturdy block, although it is quite disappointing that the Siemens ECU is being used (post 2000 SGTis use the same chip). Why? Tuning potential. Some say it isn’t as tuneable as the Mitsu-based chip. However, the engine has been given a ‘mechanical’ tune, squeezing an additional 10bhp, which is measly, but still an improvement no less. The Siemens along with a cat converter was used because it meets EURO2 emission standards, and the freeflow exhaust is no noisier than a Satria 1.6 – approved by JPJ (80db). At 140bhp with 168Nm of torque, the Satria R3 has a power-to-weight ratio of 140bhp/tonne, which is really no slouch! As a comparison my current 1.8 Persona lingers around 100bhp/tonne only. My butt dyno would tell me that is a significant difference.

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Proton Motorsports has commented that the current offering has been given a Stage 1 performance treatment, and there will be Stage 2, 3 and so forth performance upgrades made available for the R3. So there is a clear-cut upgrade path, limited only by the amount of big ones in your bank account.

There are R3 exclusive trimmings and accessories, but should not cost too much. I do still think quality is key here.

Race Ready
To a certain extent it is. Less soundproofing, tuned suspension, reinforced chassis, quality accessories. Yes, I think so. How light? How about 995kgs? Wow.

Goodies like the Momo Sports Steering (at least RM750), and Recaro SR4 (nice!) semi buckets (should be around RM2K each) are fine additions and has lots of street-cred.

R3 has included ICE and air-con, so this R3 offering is more like an RS version somewhat – performance-driven but still with some necessary comfort elements.

Not sure of a one-make R3 specific series in Malaysia, but Proton has been actively promoting and organising events recently, and I’m sure they have activities planned in the short/medium term. One thing for sure though, the Satria R3 is a road-legal track car. It’s for the enthusiast in you. For REAL drivers 🙂 Sounds like a sales pitch!

Whatever it is, I’ll be in line to book one on the 17th October @ 12pm. Mutiara Damansara showroom. There are only 150 units in Malaysia, and available only at 3 selected outlets. Exclusive? Hell yeah. And I want one. NOW.

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