The Proton Satria Neo Super 2000 rally car will be entering the Intercontinental Rally Challenge full-time after its first competition debut late last year. Proton will be the 7th manufacturer in the IRC series, joining the likes of Abarth, Honda, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Skoda and Volkswagen.
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Proton into the IRC family. The new Satria Neo S2000 has already attracted a lot of praise in its short career to date. I have no doubt that Proton will quickly find success with competitive rally customers on IRC events, as well as on national and regional championships that are based on S2000 technical regulations,” said IRC GM Marcello Lotti.
“The IRC provides the ideal format for manufacturers to showcase their products around the world. We are very excited to register for the IRC this year, alongside many of the leading manufacturers in motorsport. Although we are still developing the Proton, the IRC will provide the perfect opportunity to gauge the competitiveness of the car, and ultimately to take the project forward,” said Proton’s MD Datuk Syed Zainal.
The Satria Neo S2000 made its first rally debut piloted by Bryan Bouffier and co-driver Xavier Panseri in the Rallye Antibes Cote d’Azur leg of the 2008 European Rally Championship in the South of France. In full rally trim, the hatch has the smallest front and the lowest roof height (heh I am not surprised really) of any homologated S2000 car. It’s 2.0 litre engine is derived from Renault’s 1.8 litre unit from the Waja 1.8X and puts out 278 horsepower at 7,600rpm.
The Neo is no doubt one of the most “visible” Proton cars internationally, at least in terms of how much appearances it makes here and there. The Neo is even used in Top Gear Australia as the car used in the “Star in a Bog Standard Car” segment.