In the spirit of our nations 59th Independence Day, we thought we would feature a locally built car which has some pretty awesome upgrades. The car is a national favorite, and is one made by our very own Proton with a special collaboration with British carmaker and ride & handling expert, Lotus. We hope you enjoy our Mcclubz Merdeka Special!
Lotus. A name which stands out in the motorsport world as being synonymous to race cars, ideal handling, heritage and history. It is a name that you associate with British Engineering; the name that wins races. But what do you get when you mix Lotus’s expertise in ride and handling with a locally assembled, sedate, three-door hatchback? That’s where you get, take a deep breath for it, the Proton Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing Edition. To save space, we’ll just call it the Neo R3 LRE.
Launched back in 2010, the Neo R3 LRE was developed in house by Proton R3. They decided that the car should definitely feature the handling traits of the Satria Neo’s (distant) cousins such as the Lotus Exige and the Lotus Elise, so they specced the car with some very exclusive equipment; mainly the ohlins adjustable coilover sets and the custom-built AP Racing 4-pot brakes for the front wheels. The Neo R3 LRE also came with a custom exhaust system with a titanium 4-2-1 custom manifold and custom R3 carbon fiber airbox built by Proton R3 and exclusive only to the Neo R3 LRE.
As for the exterior, the car came with a lightened front end; carbon fiber hood and FRP fenders, complete with air vents for better cooling of the massive AP Racing brakes, hidden behind lightened R3-specific 16-inch wheels. Limited to 25 units, the Neo R3 LRE was definitely a car not built for the masses. Especially when you consider the RM115k price tag!
The story behind Nik’s Neo is that his father acquired it as a demo unit from a Proton dealer, once all units were sold out. Despite being a demo unit, the car was still in pristine condition with zero mileage on it. At the time, Nik was driving a Suzuki Swift in which he had done some extensive mods to it. Upon receiving the Neo R3 LRE, Nik found that the 145 BHP Campro CPS engine was not up to his expectation, and he needed more power to power his newly acquired Green Machine.
Being a guy who has a thirst for power, Nik eventually tried various types of piggy-back systems but which was to no avail. Eventually he got in touch with the guys from Haltech (a company that produces Engine Control Units for various cars) and they helped set him on the correct road to achieve more horsepower. Nik eventually got the itch to force-feed his car and started looking for turbochargers.
The problem with turbochargers is that you would have to extensively upgrade the internals of the engine, which would also decrease the cars reliability. Nik needed something that offered more power through forced-induction, but was not as intrusive as a turbocharger.
That’s when the idea of a supercharger came into play. Nik did some research and found a company that offers Sprintex superchargers for the Satria Neo. As it was still new stuff for the Neo, he went on and installed the supercharger. The good thing about the Sprintex supercharger is that it is relatively easy to install; it’s a plug-and-play unit that fits over the intake manifold.
The supercharger runs off the crankshaft and the installation does not intrude into the exhaust manifold. Just the way Nik wanted it. Amazingly, you can really get a huge jump in power with the installation of a supercharger onto the Campro CPS engine, with the proper adjustments and equipment.
Once you enter Nik’s Neo, you definitely know this Neo is one of a kind. The dashboard and door cards are done in a special ‘British Racing’ green that matches the exterior paint. One thing that stands out in the cabin is his racing steering wheel, which matches the green hue of the interior. A perfect addition to the already ‘cool’ cabin.
The sound of the exhaust reverberates throughout the cabin as he Nik pulls towards redline. Equipped with Advan Neova’s, and balanced using ohlins adjustable coilovers, the car hugs the corners like a go-kart with minimal body-roll.
We really enjoyed our time with Nik’s Neo R3 LRE. It is a car like none-other, built with precision for one thing in mind; the ultimate need for speed. Nik showed how he took an already awesome car as it is, and turned it into a road-going monster!