Malaysian automaker Proton has decided to go rally racing.
Proton, which owns Lotus, commissioned British motorsports and engineering firm Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM) to develop a car for the World Rally Championship 2 (WRC2) series.
The series, which uses the same stages as the World Rally Championship, is designed for cars designed to Super 2000, N4, R5 rules.
Proton’s rally car is based on the automaker’s Iriz hatchback and has been designed to R5 rules. Development is still underway but the first cars should be ready to compete by the 2018 season.
Powering the car is a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 that’s based on the 2.0-liter engine fitted to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Other upgrades include Brembo brakes, Cosworth engine management, Reiger dampers, and an Xtrac sequential transmission.
MEM previously developed Proton’s Satria Neo S2000 rally car which competed in various events such as the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, Super 2000 World Rally Championship, and the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.
Proton plans to present its Iriz R5 rally car at next month’s 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed in the United Kingdom.