08 November 2011

Proton in Global Motorsport Arena - Satria Neo S2000

PROTON is clearly intensified its turnaround plan and strategizing a global attack on automotive arena. Apart from launching a series of credible car recently, the image building activities is buzzing actively too. The highest profile would be the involvement with LRGP F1 team where the F1 theme is used prominently in Proton advertising. Capitalizing the Lotus (other way around actually as Lotus is owned and funded by our national car company) name, Proton is featured is the advertisement and sponsored event. 

Closer to the affordable car, Proton cars are being run in FIA Rally Championship and British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). The participation in FIA APRC was ran by Mellors Elliot Motorsport, while the participation in BTCC was handled by Welch Motorsport where they fielded Proton Persona BTCC. The car is still new and developing and the success is still yet to come. However, the rally effort started much earlier in 2008 and by now already bags the success. For this category, Proton Satria Neo was chosen, and was adapted according to new FIA S2000 classification where the road going-based car is allowed to have either 1.6l forced-fed or a 2.0l NA. 

Last weekend, Proton bags the manufacturer championship for APRC, leaving Mitsubishi and Subaru trailing in its wake. The Satria Neo S2000 has been a dominant force this season, winning four out of six round it participated along the 2011. Proton Satria Neo as chosen as it has the ideal dimensions to be the base car for the rally, as the car body hard-points can't be altered as it violates the regulation. Most modern car today are tall-body to maximise space, not so with Satria Neo. It was designed from the outset to be sporty hatchback in Proton range, hence its low-slung stance. This is perfect for racing as it present the lowest frontal area. Short overhang and cab-rearward stance rewards great weight distribution. These are the criteria that makes Satria Neo such as credible baseline model to rallying. Mellors Elliot Motorsport has modified the car to S2000 regulation, altering the customary bodyshell fit for rallying, modified the Waja-derived 1.8l and massaged the internals to produce a reliable 278bhp and drop-in the 4WD drivetrain and Xtrac 6 speed gearbox. Enjoy the write-up below on the technicalities of Proton Satria Neo S2000.

The Satria Neo S2000 was build around the new S2000 category according to FIA classification. The S2000 is divided into two, the first one is the turbocharged 1.6l while the second one is NA 2.0l. S2000 Satria Neo conformed to the latter. Full classification accepted for FIA rallying is as tabulated. 
Proton Satria Neo S2000 made it rally debut at Rallye Antibes Cote d'Azure in November 2008 where it was piloted by Bryan Bouffier. In that leg, it finished 18th in its debut. First podium for Satria Neo S2000 arrived in December 2009 at IRC Rally of Scotland when Alister McRae was awarded second place. In 2011, Satria Neo S2000 dominates the season by winning four out of six rounds of APRC. Alister McRae took the APRC driver's championship while team mate Chris Atkinson is second in table , making it 1-2 for driver's championship for Proton drivers. Proton also clinches the manufacturer crown ahead of the Mitsubishi and Subaru.
More after the jump.
Satria Neo S2000 was build by Mellors Elliot Motorsport around the modified dimensions, platform and drivetrain to conform to FIA S2000 classification.  The engine was derived from Waja's 1.8l engine, resized to 2,000cc and produced a reliable 278bhp@7600 rpm and 271Nm@7000rpm. Drive is channeled to all wheels via Xtrac 532 4WD S2000 transmission with 6 forward ratios.

The body has been honed to achieve maximum aerodynamic efficiency. The flared arches and bumpers were designed to achieve the lowest frontal area and height in its class. Weight distribution was optimized with the placement of the driver and co-driver in rear-most position allowable by the chassis mounting. Bodyshell was strengthened via the used of 35m of Chrome Moly Tube cage, as well as numerous reinforcement and stiffeners to withstand the rapid suspension protrusion and higher cyclical rally loading in general. 

The specs of the Satria Neo S2000 is as below:

Length:  3905mm
Width:  1800mm
Height:  1300mm
Wheelbase:  2440mm
Front track:  1543mm
Rear track:  1543mm
Weight:  1150kg, (Tarmac), 1200kg, (Gravel)

4 cylinder MEM-Proton 2000cc S2000 engine
Forged pistons
Lightweight steel connecting-rods
Billet steel crankshaft
Lightweight steel flywheel with integral ring gear
278bhp@7600rpm and 271Nm@7000rpm
GEMS X25 engine ECU and power management system with
integrated data-logging and colour dashboard display
Xtrac “532” 4WD Super 2000 transmission system
6-speed sequential gearbox with engine cut on up-shift
Limited Slip Differentials: 
  •  Front, plated mechanical, externally adjustable
  • Centre, spool
  • Rear, plated mechanical, externally adjustable
Hydraulic handbrake with auto-release system for rear differential
Bespoke WRC-style lightweight driveshafts all round

Tubular fabricated front & rear crossmembers
Front: Lower wishbone and MacPherson strut
Rear: Lower wishbone and MacPherson strut
MEM-Dynamics dampers all round
Anti-rollbars front and rear, optional sizes available
One-piece alloy hubs, interchangeable front to rear
Front: Alcon 4-piston forged calipers, 350mm vented discs, (Tarmac)
Front: Alcon 4-piston forged calipers, 300mm vented discs, (Gravel)
Rear: Alcon 4-piston forged calipers, 300mm vented discs, (Common)
MEM pedal box assy, adjustable for driver position
Hydraulic power-assisted rack and pinion
Adjustable steering column reach and height
Quick-release steering wheel
GEMS Multiplex wiring and power management system incl. auto-power reset
Central multi-function key pad control and integrated data-logging.
Information by colour TV screen dashboard display.
Fuel system:
72 litre AFS FT3 safety fuel cell with quick-change fuel control cassette
FIA Staubli dry-break fill and vent connections
18”x8” alloy for Tarmac
15”x6.5” alloy for Gravel

Can be configured for Right-Hand or Left-Hand drive
Front bumper design to maximise aerodynamics and cooling
Small frontal area
Modified front & rear wings to maximise width
Lightweight rear spoiler for minimum drag
MEM lightweight FIA-approved integrated Chromo-steel rollcage
Strategic body strengthening increasing torsional stiffness

The Satria Neo S2000 has been evolved since its first rally appearance in 2008. Honed and tuned based on the rally findings, the chassis and driver package has finally overcome all oppositions in 2011 by dominating the gruesome season to emerge as overall winner. The 2011 tally is the maximum the manufacturer can dream about, 1-2 for driver championship and a manufacturer crown to complete the set. Congratulation Proton!

The last three photos are from Paultan