The recently-launched Lancer WRC04 bears little resemblance to Mitsubishi’s previous rally cars and includes no fewer than 6 000 new parts.
The recently-launched Lancer WRC04 bears little resemblance to Mitsubishi’s previous rally cars and includes no less than 6 000 new parts. The company’s motorsport boss, Mario Fornaris, recently said that the development team took advantage of the freedom permitted by the WRC regulations, but would only introduce more advanced once they had a good understanding of the car.
Featuring all-round MacPherson strut suspension with bespoke Ohlins dampers, the Lancer’s aerodynamics have been optimised for the optimum mixture of downforce and airflow through the engine bay, the steering totally redesigned and the engine relocated for improved weight distribution.
The engine is based on the two-litre unit from the current Evo VIII (which itself is expected to be launched in South Africa in the near future). New items include the crankshaft, con-rods, pistons, turbo, manifolds and electronic management system, the latter supplied by Magneti Marelli. A drivetrain, a new four-wheel drive system from Ricardo, features a transversely-mounted five-speed gearbox and three passive mechanical differentials.
Active suspension was being considered, but 'is not an immediate priority' - higher up the list is a semi-automatic gearchange, though this won't come in until Mitsubishi is 'satisfied that the Lancer WRC04 is living up to its potential, in terms of both performance and durability.'
Last week, CARtoday.com quoted former Peugeot asphalt specialist Gilles Panizzi as saying that the 2004-spec Lancer WRC was much better than the legendary 206 WRC was in its early stages of development. The Frenchman had been testing the new car for two days over the Sweet Lamb complex in Wales.
"The Lancer felt very balanced and extremely easy to drive. I didn't have to fight the car at all. It's difficult to say what the real performance is, because this car is still very new and we were using the wrong shock absorbers,” Panizzi said. "But I feel very optimistic. On some cars, using the wrong shock absorbers would make the car undriveable. With this car, you just get in and drive”.
Original article from Car