The motor sport department of Mitsubishi Motors and MMSP both contributed to the development of the Mitsubishi Racing Lancer which complies with the Group T1 regulations of the FIA (motor sport's international governing body: FÃ©dÃ©ration Internationale de l'Automobile) introduced in 2002. The firm's latest cross-country rally car, which has been designed to take onboard the new super production regulations when they come into force in 2010, has benefited extensively from the experience acquired with the Pajero/Montero Evolution.
The development of the turbo-diesel engine began in April 2006 before being grafted into a Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution for testing purposes in June 2007. Development of the body began in August 2007 and the first Mitsubishi Racing Lancer was completed in June 2008. This car was put through its paces during one-week test sessions in Spain and Morocco, as well as over typical cross-country rally terrain in France. Based on the data collected during these tests, further sessions were organized in Morocco at the end of August/early September plus another two weeks in October prior to the Mitsubishi Racing Lancer's debut on the sixth round of the FIA Cross-Country Baja International Cup, the Baja Portalegre (Thursday, October 30 to Sunday, November 2, 2008).
The Mitsubishi Racing Lancer is based on a new multi-tubular steel frame. The team has taken particular care to minimize weight, while the additional space freed up by the longer wheelbase â€“ a decision based on the regulations due to come into force in 2010 â€“ has enabled the gas tank to be positioned lower in the car and has consequently brought down the centre of gravity. Handling has also been improved thanks to the new location of the spare tyres which ensures enhanced control of the moment of inertia.
Mitsubishi Motors's design department was responsible for the body styling which uses carbon panels based on the design of the Lancer Sportback. The design was finalized after validation of the new car's aerodynamic performance in a wind tunnel.
The powerful 3-litre V6 diesel engine features a two-stage turbocharger which positions a small and large turbine configuration on each side of engine, working with both the small and large turbine according to engine revolution and load.
Peak torque is 66.3kgfm (650Nm), while maximum power currently stands at 280PS (206kW), although this figure is expected to increase as development work continues. The cooling system of the intercooler is positioned at the rear of the car and is fed by the characteristic roof-mounted air scoop.
The V6 engine is fed through a manual Ricardo five-speed sequential gearbox engineered to cope with the high torque delivered by the powerplant. The Mitsubishi Racing Lancer's permanent four-wheel drive transmission features the same self-locking differential as that used for Pajero/Montero Evolution.
Both the front and rear suspension systems feature extensively revised geometry and are both based on a double wishbone layout with coil springs, anti-roll bars and uprated BOS dampers which can be adjusted through a broader range. The car runs on BFGoodrich's new low-energy 245/80-16 cross-country rally tyres and OZ aluminium alloy wheels (16x7JJ). The vented 16-inch brake discs are coupled with six-piston Brembo calipers.