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Future models - Proton - Gen.2

Proton races up to speed with R3

Gen.2: Proton's new small car will be the first to benefit from R3 performance and cosmetic updates.

New motorsport division plans go-fast kits for new range of Malaysian cars

2 Apr 2004

MALAYSIA’S emerging national car-maker Proton will launch a new go-fast brand called R3 in Australia around the end of the year.

R3 stands for race, rally and research and, as its name suggests, it will use motorsport to develop high-performance parts for street use which will be sold in kit form.

Proton is determined to sell itself worldwide as a dynamic brand and sees motorsport as the way to do it.

R3 will be launched in Malaysia in August and will be run by Tengku Djan (Tengku means Prince), a trained chassis engineer who has worked at Lotus Engineering and Porsche and has extensive racing experience.

First up in Australia will be tuning and cosmetic kits for the Gen.2 small car, which is due to be launched here in September.

"The way it works is the car will be purchased as a Gen.2 and will then be fitted with an R3 kit in various levels," said Proton Cars Australia managing director John Startari.

"Those kits go as far as interior design changes, suspension changes, power output changes – a whole heap of things."

43 center image One thing that almost certainly won’t be offered is forced induction for the new Campro family of engines.

"I don’t think they would ever go down that route because of reliability concerns and the cost of doing that would not justify the return," Mr Startari said.

R3 kits will also be offered for other Proton models as its new generation range comes on stream.

In February the second generation Satria will be launched in Australia - and it will definitely get the R3 treatment.

It is unclear if the next debuts after that - the TRM mini-car and a significantly facelifted Waja, which should also get a new name – will have R3 kits.

Mr Startari would not commit to definite pricing on R3 kits, only saying they would be "competitive".

R3 will be Proton’s racing brand with ambitions to contest Australian production car racing, including the Bathurst 24-hour with an outright contender based on a new Lotus-developed aluminium chassis and V6 engine.

R3 is also said to have a Gen.2-based rally car under construction. Both are expected to be revealed at the company’s Malaysian launch.

The Bathurst 24-hour contender is expected on sale here around September 2005, when Proton launches its new retail identity in Australia.

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