Amidst the Proton-Geely foreign strategic partnership confirmation and news on the plans and future of the Malaysian carmaker with a new partner onboard, there’s a small section of the company that’s currently feeling sentimental. R3, Proton’s motorsports division will be shuttered, and personnel, both past and present, have been posting their tributes and farewell notes on social media.

The timing of R3’s winding down coincides with the Proton-Geely deal, which also sees the Chinese carmaker take majority stake in Lotus. This leads to the easy assumption that the developments are related. That’s not true, and it’s merely a coincidence, according to a source familiar with the matter.

According to the source, the plan to wind down R3 isn’t a shock decision and has been on the cards for some time. Unsurprisingly, it’s due to the lack of budget, and the slowing down of Proton sales of late has made it impossible for R3 to keep doing what it does, which as its name suggests, is Race, Rally and Research.

The source added that Proton needs to channel funds towards its core operations, and the company’s current situation means that R3 is no longer a priority. R3 will close its doors at the end of May, and its staff will be reassigned. The division’s future will only be discussed when Geely comes onboard. Perhaps when the company’s health has been restored, R3 can someday rise from the ashes – who knows?