Proton Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing Edition

Posted on March 31, 2010 at 12:00 am

 

A Proton Satria Neo for RM115,000? That’s double the normal price of the CPS version and you’d wonder who would want to pay so much for one. But apparently, at least 13 people have already put their money down for it and there are only 12 units left (unless Proton decides to make more). The reason why these people have been quick to snap up the special Satria Neo is because it is not only performance-improved but also destined to be a collectors’ item.

It’s the Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing Edition, an exclusive version developed to celebrate Proton’s involvement with Lotus Racing in this years F1 championship. The ‘R3’ indicates that this car has been a project of Proton’s Motorsports Division (‘R3’ stands for ‘Race, Rally, Research’) and while past R3 editions may have been just ‘look fast’ jobs with no change in performance, the Lotus Racing Edition is more than just looks; it had to have a level of performance which would make it worthy of sharing the Lotus racing heritage and success.

 

Carbonfibre bonnet and other lightweight panels help reduce weight significantly

Standard Satria Neo CPS

The bodywork started off as a standard Satria Neo CPS and to reduce weight, the metal bonnet was replaced with one made of carbonfibre, the same material also being used for the tailgate spoiler and side skirts. Fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) fenders are also fitted – a first for a production Proton model – and have race-inspired side vents with the Lotus Racing name prominently emblazoned.

 

Besides reducing overall weight by around 62 kgs, the aim of enhancing performance was also achieved by fine-tuning the airflow over the car. The frontal areas have optimized surfaces that divert airflow more efficiently around the car and reduce turbulence and drag. The result is better stability at higher speeds plus increased downforce as less air is allowed to get under the car. Under the rear, a diffuser helps to disperse the airflow with less turbulence-inducing drag.

The distinctive bodywork is finished in Lotus Racing Green, a traditional colour on historically significant British sportscars, with a yellow racing stripe running from front to back.

With a number of years of experience in making Proton models hotter, R3 already had a lot of ideas about what to do to enhance the performance of the Satria Neo for this special version. However, the idea was not to create an ‘extreme’ car for racing but one which would provide pleasurable driving performance that would make an enthusiast would smile.

For each unit of the Lotus Racing Edition, R3 provides a specially-developed 1.6-litre CamPro CPS engine which produces 145 bhp (20 bhp more than the standard engine) and 168 Nm (18 Nm more). The R3-programmed engine management system allows the engine to spin another 1000 rpm to 7000 rpm where it develops peak power and also moves the torque peak to 5000 rpm, from 4500 rpm in the standard engine.

 

Other parts changed to get this output increase were the camshafts, alloy under-drive pulleys, and a fully-tuned exhaust system (with titanium headers and full stainless steel piping). To ensure that the engine breathing was upgraded to meet the higher output, the carbonfibre airbox was increased in size and a K&N air filter used.

Performance claims are a 0 – 100 km/h time of 9.2 seconds (1.3 seconds better than the standard car) and a top speed of 200 km/h (10 km/h more). Incidentally, only a 5-speed manual transmission is available – but who would want an automatic with this car anyway?

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With the Lotus badge on its body, it would be expected that this Satria Neo would have all the Lotus DNA in its suspension set-up. The task for the R3 engineers was made easier because the original chassis and suspension already have Lotus DNA so it was a matter of pushing the envelope to get that extra edge in handling. The suspension was replaced with a set of Ohlins dual-flow valve fully-adjustable suspension system with R3-tuned spring and damper rates. The height was lowered and stiffer rubber bushes installed while the suspension geometry was revised for a more direct feel. For wheels, Advanti 16×7-inch alloys are fitted and shod with 205/45 RE001 Adrenalin tyres from Bridgestone.

Another first for a production Proton model is the use of massive 4-pot AP Racing calipers and ventilated discs for the front brakes. ABS and EBD are present, of course.

 

The inside of the Lotus Racing Edition also has the racing heritage colours which are used to create a sporty ambience. Carbonfibre is used in some areas and leather in others. The front seats are nappa leather-wrapped bucket seats with carbonfibre effect inserts incorporating perforated leather. Other details include an engine START button, R3 alloy gearknob and alloy pedals.

Unlike modified versions which may be developed by independent companies, the Lotus Racing Edition, being developed by R3 which is a subsidiary of Proton, has to meet the high standards of quality and safety of the manufacturer. This is especially so since the model is marketed by Proton and will be supported by the usual factory warranties. However, it is understood that the non-standard Satria Neo parts will have a ‘limited warranty’.

 

For more information on the Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing Edition or other Proton models, visit www.proton-edar.com.my .
 

By Motor Trader Editorial Team

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