British motorsport preparation firm Mellors Elliot Motorsport will debut the Proton Iriz R5 at next week’s Goodwood Festival of Speed (4-7 July), in its first official public appearance since being homologated by the sport’s governing body, the FIA.
The four-wheel drive, 1.6-litre turbocharged machine is the latest R5 specification example to be ratified by the FIA, allowing it to be used at all levels in the sport, including the prestigious FIA World Rally Championship.
Designed, built and developed by the Bakewell based outfit Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM), the Iriz will be on display to the public and will also be in action across the Forest Rally Stage over the course of the four-day Festival.
MEM has established itself as one of the leading motorsport build and preparation firms in the world. Founded in 1982, it has forged an unrivalled partnership with Malaysian car manufacturer Proton with a relationship that has seen MEM and Proton secure a World Rally Championship and multiple Asia Pacific titles.
After the success of the Proton Satria S2000 in 2011 and 2012, MEM, headed up by Managing Director Chris Mellors, began working on a new model to fit the current world rally regulations. In 2017 the Proton Iriz R5 landed on the rally stages of the UK, securing a maiden win at the Grizedale Stages during its phase as a prototype, before a significant programme of development work saw it form into a full R5 machine.
Former World Champion Marcus Gronholm was called upon and assisted in the development to ensure the car was ready for world competition and the arduous process required to legislate the car for full R5 approval.
The Proton is unique in that it is the only R5 to be approved in both right- and left-hand drive format and was launched a few months ago as a fully compliant R5 example, expanding its reach further still to a worldwide market. Seen as the current steppingstone into the fully fledged World Rally Cars, the Proton R5 will be eligible to compete in the WRC2 category which currently sees manufacturer support from many car brands, all eager to promote their derivative to the world’s markets.
Despite taking to the stages in the UK and Ireland, the Proton Iriz R5 has not yet made an official appearance and will use Goodwood as its first outing as an FIA Homologated machine.
“There is no better place to bring the Proton Iriz R5 than the Goodwood Festival of Speed and show our new creation to tens of thousands of motorsport fans from across the globe,” says Director Chris Mellors.
“We have attended for many years and actually Goodwood was one of the first unveiling of the car back in 2017 so there is a real fondness for the place within the team. It was made better that year by winning the Forest Rally Stage too with Ollie (Mellors) driving so it will be great if we can get the Proton back out on the gravel next weekend too”.
Mellors is delighted with the development of the Iriz and three new-builds have left their Derbyshire workshops with more on the way.
“We have had a lot of interest in the Iriz already and now that we have the FIA Homologation, that is increasing by the day. We have people such as multiple Irish Tarmac Rally champion Eugene Donnelly using one which is important for the brand and its continued development, but we are always looking to expand our customer base.
I look forward to meeting everyone at Goodwood next week”