New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Lotus launches R3 hot hatch?

2010-04-06 08:55
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Proton
Model Satria Neo R3 LR
Engine 1.6l
Power 108kW @ 7 000r/min
Torque 168Nm @ 5 000r/min
Transmission Five-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 9.2 sec
Top Speed 200km/h
Weight 1 150kg
Back in the day Lotus cars were an outstanding example of how track knowledge could be transposed to road car know-how for the benefit of enhanced driving dynamics.

This was primarily due the similarly named Team Lotus F1 racing outfit and the expertise exchanged between these two entities.

When the late Colin Chapman’s racing team faded into obscurity during the 1990s we thought we’d never see the famous flower insignia in F1 again. This year though, Malaysian industrial giant Proton (who own a controlling share in Lotus cars too) has funded a return to F1 racing for the famous Lotus name.

Although the new Lotus Racing outfit has very little (nothing in fact) to do with the illustrious history of Team Lotus, this sure has not stopped Proton from indulging in some ill-conceived corporate branding. Witness the limited edition (thank goodness) Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing hot hatch.

Those colours don't run. Satria Neo Lotus Racing edition is 1 150kg of pure Malaysian racing pride - doesn't sound right, now does it?

Looks hot (or does it?)

Proton’s rather average hatchback has been given the once-over by the Lotus car division’s very able engineers. The result is a green and yellow ode to Proton’s 25th anniversary.

Now, Lotus tuning cars which do not carry the Hethel company’s design signature is nothing new. It does an awful lot of consultancy work in the automotive industry (for amongst others, Porsche), yet dressing up a Satria Neo in traditional Lotus F1 racing colours will surely be seen as an affront to Colin Chapman’s heritage.

Mechanically the Satria Neo R3 has been made as able as it can be, considering its rather undistinguished origins.

Lotus chassis engineers binned the stock dampers for Öhlins coil-overs, added new wheels (rolling Bridgestone Adrenalin RE001 rubber) to each wheel corner and added a strut brace up front to rally against the lack of torsional rigidity.

Brakes are upgraded courtesy of AP racing four-pot callipers and rotors up front, with single-pot grabbers and discs at the rear.

Carbon-fibre airbox amoungst the tuning goodies. Outputs increase by 18kW and 25Nm over the stock Satria Neo.

Not bad for a naturally-aspirated 1.6

In terms of go the Satria Neo’s 1.6l four-cylinder is helped to 108kW (without forced-induction) courtesy of revised exhaust plumbing and some ECU trickery. Proton says the 1.6l engine will happily spin to 7 500r/min in each of its five forward gears.

A carbon-fibre hood (amoungst other things) trims mass by 62kg (really, it does) and ensures the Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing edition runs the benchmark 0-100km/h sprint in a shade over 9 seconds. We’re sure Colin Chapman would be thrilled.

Proton will only be producing 25 of these Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing edition models, retailing for $35 000 a piece. Well, it’s the cheapest way to park some faux F1 derived branding in your driveway…


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