Did you know that the GEMS computer system in the Proton Satria Neo S2000 tracks and logs over 50 variables and has two settings – stage and road? Stage mode uses the standard race settings but road mode is used when the rally car has to travel on regular roads with traffic between stages.
In road mode, the engine runs on less aggressive tuning so it runs quieter and etc. These are just a few of the interesting bits of info about rally cars like the Proton Satria Neo S2000 that should be quite interesting to the enthusiast. Let’s go into more.
The car runs on two different suspension, brake and tyre packs, known as the gravel pack and the tarmac pack. The gravel pack uses smaller wheels of only 15 inches in size. This is so that larger tyres with thicker sidewalls can be used, for the purpose of enduring the tough gravel road conditions. The suspension travel is also longer, and the suspension arms are heavier and stronger. The gravel pack also uses a sumpguard to protect the gearbox and other components from rocks and etc but in both packs, the entire bottom is flat for aerodynamics purposes, and the rear has a diffuser.
The tarmac pack has larger 18 inch wheels, and thinner tyres. The larger wheels are to fit larger 350mm brakes, compared to 300mm on the gravel setup. The tarmac setting requires larger brakes because a tarmac course generally works the brakes harder.
Look into the engine bay and somehow you get the image of some kind of mechanical squid lying in there. I blame the recent Transformers and Terminator madness. This odd image is partly because of the thick ceramic coated (resulting in the white appearance) exhaust manifolds sticking out of the engine and heading towards the rear. The ceramic coating is to keep the exhaust heat in the exhaust and not let it spread to the other components of the car. Keeping the exhaust at a higher temperature also helps with exhaust velocity, allowing the exhaust to escape faster.
The engine bay is a mechanic’s dream, with each component placed in a position for easy access and repair or replacement. The ability to craft such a layout comes with experience and that is what the builders MEM have. The gearbox ratios can be changed in 10 minutes, and the entire gearbox in 12 minutes. It has to be fast because of the 20 minute service interval in rallies, so components are designed to be changeable within those periods of time.
The gearbox is a specced down version of the X-trac gearbox in the Citroen WRC car. The engine should be familiar to you guys now, it is a config that is commonly used whenever a Proton race car needs a 2.0 litre engine. The 1.8 litre Renault engine from the Waja 1.8X is used, and has its displacement increased to 2.0 litres. It produces 278 horsepower at 7,600rpm and and a massive 271Nm of torque at 7000rpm, with a usable powerband of between 5,500 to a screaming 8,500rpm.
Get into the interior and at first you might get confused by the seemingly messy array of exposed raw parts and rollcage bars. It looks that way for the purpose of weight reduction. However the upper dash area itself is more “posh” compared to the standard Neo. It has a black felt covering to reduce dashboard glare on the windscreen, to help the driver see on glaring days.
The handbrake lever is quite interesting. It uses hydraulics, but where are the hydraulics stored? The oil is actually stored in the handbrake lever itself, so you actually unscrew the top of the handbrake lever to access the oil. When you pull the handbrake, the gearbox automatically disengages the rear axle from being driven, as the rear brakes aren’t going to do much when the rear wheels are still being driven by the powerful engine.
Next to the handbrake is the gear change lever. Simply push forward to downshift and pull back to upshift. You don’t have to operate the clutch unless you are rolling off from a stand-still as the gearbox automatically cuts itself off from the engine when you shift. This means you can shift while you have your pedal to the metal, no need to lift-off. This means faster shifts.
Of course in the end you realise that most of the components of the car are third party. What’s left of the Neo is just the chassis and body design itself, which is widened (not just aesthetics, the wheel arches are widened even when you look on the inside). You may wonder what exactly is the benefits of using a Satria Neo chassis? I’m not sure if the chassis is the best but there are a few benefits.
For one, the Neo already has a lower roof height compared to other cars, so this helps with lowering the center of gravity. You cannot take a car with a higher roof and change the roofline for rally car spec because it is against the rules. Secondly. you cannot change the placement of the wheels, and the Neo’s wheels are already at the edges of the car with minimal overhangs so this helps with the car’s agility and balance.
So there you have it, some interesting tidbits about the Satria Neo Super 2000 rally car. Look after the jump for new hi-res photo gallery of a white Satria Neo S2000.
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