2004 Proton Satria R3 1.8, Race Rally Research’s first-ever star
Eric · Jun 11, 2020 10:02 AM
Established in 2003, Race Rally Research, better known as R3, is Proton’s official performance and motorsports division.
Headquartered in Proton’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Shah Alam, R3 does more than just cosmetic accessories or sport rims, as they have the desire to achieve the same status like what NISMO is for Nissan and STI for Subaru.
Because of that, the team at Proton R3 felt that they needed to come out with a complete tuned-up car with a factory warranty to prove that R3 can be seen and taken seriously by owners and fans of the Proton brand. Hence, 2004 saw the introduction of the first R3 model – the Proton Satria R3 (M24).
Limited to just 150 units, many assumed that the Satria R3 was built on the Satria GTI platform, but that is not true. Instead, the Satria R3 was built on the Satria 1.3’s platform, which raises an eyebrow (or two), seeing that it was a performance model.
In short, the Satria 1.3’s chassis is the lightest in the line-up, which was verified by Proton R3’s Special Projects Head, Adian Yein Khalid (who is also one of our friends). Adian is also the founder and organizer of Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF), Malaysia’s leading grassroot championship series.
To reinforce the Satria chassis’ stiffness so it can resemble a race car, the R3 team utilized the double-stitch welding method (where the chassis and chassis' components are welded twice) was used for strength as well as to reduce structural flex.
After that, the R3 team worked with APM to develop and tune the Satria's suspension, with the aim to make the little hatchback more agile and nimble in corners as well as to improve stability on straight roads.
To further enhance the Satria R3’s handling, the R3 team fitted the car with a strut bar on the front and rear suspension, as well as an anti-roll bar.
What makes the Satria R3 even more unique is the removal of the interior trim pieces and soundproofing materials, all in the name of weight reduction.
In fact, the R3 team went as far as removing the airbags (airbags were not mandatory back then) and the steering wheel got replaced with a MOMO Tuner unit.
The front seats were replaced with a pair of Recaro SR4 seats, while the gear knob was replaced by a carbon fibre unit. The overall interior got a red-and-black theme.
Through this stringent diet, the R3 team managed to reduce the Satria R3’s weight to just 995 kg.
Just like a race car, the ABS system got deleted and replaced by cross-drilled brakes from DBA (Disc Brake Australia) on all four wheels, gripped by high-performance brake pads from Mintex Racing.
As for the rims and tyres, the R3 team selected a set of 16x7 Advanti lightweight wheels, wrapped in sticky 205/45R16 Yokohama Advan Neova AD07 tires.
The Satria R3 shares the same engine with the Satria GTI – a 1.8-litre four-cylinder 4G93P engine that is fitted with a free-flow exhaust and K&N air filter, allowing it to produce 140 PS and 168 Nm. It is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission lifted from the Satria GTI.
Engine management is taken care of by a Siemens EMS 400 unit, allowing the Satria R3 to complete the 0-100 km/h sprint in 8.6 seconds before reaching a top speed of 205 km/h.
Exterior-wise, the Satria R3 is fitted with the same bodykit as the Satria GTI, with the difference being the carbon fibre rear spoiler that is lighter than the original unit.
The Satria R3 was only available in Incognito Black, and got Proton R3’s iconic Blood Stripe red lining.
For infotainment when crawling through traffic jams or during touge (winding roads) along Batang Kali like Takumi Fujiwara from Initial D, you can jam to Eurobeats via the Clarion 2-DIN head unit and 4-speaker set-up.