|Former British Rallycross Champion and European Rallycross Championship podium-finisher Ollie O’Donovan will contest a dual programme of domestic and international events in 2022 with a brand-new Proton Iriz RX.
Team RX Racing will field the new car for 2007 British Champion O’Donovan in the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy and FIA European Rallycross Championship.
The project has been undertaken as a collaboration between one of the most respected rallycross preparation firms in the world, Tony Bardy Motorsport (TBM), and renowned Proton Motorsport rally specialists Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM), with MEM having constructed the new car in its Derbyshire workshops.
The Proton Iriz RX shares its platform with MEM’s highly regarded Iriz R5 (now Rally2) rally car, first revealed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2017 and subsequently the winner of multiple national rallies. However, while it shares it’s platform with the rally concept, the Iriz RX has been built specifically for rallycross use from a fresh bodyshell.
The car has undertaken initial test running, and will make its public debut at the 5 Nations BRX media and test day on April 14 at Lydden Hill, the same venue that will host the opening weekend of the 5 Nations BRX campaign on April 16-18, the first two rounds of its 10-stop season, including events at Pembrey (Wales), Mondello Park (Ireland), and Dreux (France).
O’Donovan will partner son Patrick in a two-car Team RX Racing 5 Nations BRX effort.
In addition to 5 Nations BRX, Ollie O’Donovan will return to the European Rallycross Championship this year, having finished on the podium in the Spanish round of the series in 2017, and contested selected World Rallycross Championship events last season.
The European campaign will take Team RX Racing to events in Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Latvia, Portugal and Belgium, beginning at Nyirad in Hungary next month.
Ollie O’Donovan, Team RX Racing Team Principal and Lead Driver:
“Seeing the Iriz RX drive out of the trailer for the first time recently was a big moment for myself and the team. Then getting in and it fitting me like a glove, was a special feeling. There has been a huge amount of hard work go into this project, and it was brilliant to conduct the initial testing. The Iriz RX already feels like a significant step up from where we were, and in the first shakedown test we were far from its full potential. We have work to do before the opening rounds of 5 Nations BRX at Lydden, with another couple of tests planned, and I’m very excited to get the season underway. Thank you to everyone involved. I must also say, it will be a special day on April 16 when Patrick and I line up on a Supercar grid for the first time together. I’m very proud of him and his progress in rallycross so far, but I am also still very motivated to claim another British title for myself too. To return to the European Championship has also been a key goal for this project, and I can’t wait to drive at Nyirad in Hungary for the first-time next month, and to give the Iriz RX it’s international debut!”
Tony Bardy, Tony Bardy Motorsport Owner and Team RX Racing Chief Engineer:
“Ollie [O’Donovan] wanted a car nobody else had, and in R5 form the Iriz has won many rallies in the hands of Ollie Mellors. That’s why we went in this direction. The car shares its base with the R5 Iriz, but a lot of it is unique too, and the concept has taken longer to adapt for rallycross than all involved first thought it might. But, having run the car through its first test, the speed is there. The car has a lot of grip, and there is more potential to unleash yet. We’re all looking forward to the first event!”
Chris Mellors, Proton Motorsport Team Principal:
“This has been, and continues to be, an exciting project for us at MEM. It’s great to be working on a different programme with different people, and exploring the world of rallycross. We’re satisfied with how the car has turned out, and we were very pleased with the initial shakedown at Pembrey. We have a few things to do before the opening rounds of the season, but we’re very excited to see how the car performs in a competitive environment, both in the British Championship, and on the European stage.”