Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has announced that their new-generation high-performance 4WD sedan, the Lancer Evolution X (10) is to be used as the course cars for the Japanese round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Rally Japan is also the 6th round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship (PWRC) and will run in Tokachi, Hokkaido from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th October 2007.
As official the Course cars for Rally Japan, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X will be the vehicles that run though the route and all the demanding stages of the event ahead of the competitors to check track conditions making sure that everything is ready for the 14th round of the WRC. The Course cars, often referred to as the 'Double Zero' and 'Zero' cars, travel through the course before the competing vehicles, 30-minutes for the Double Zero car and 15-minutes for the Zero car.
The Lancer Evolution X will run on Rally Japan in Group N specification and include various new features that have been developed in close collaboration between the Motor Sport Division / Technical Development Department of Mitsubishi Motors and Ralliart Inc.
Included in these new developments is the integrated of the roll cage into the body of the car with extensive reinforcements resulting in the cars strength and stiffness being drastically upgraded from the normal road-going version. Purpose-built components have been used for the running gear and brakes with drive-train components specially developed by Ralliart featuring a constant-mesh close-ratio gearbox.
The exterior of the Lancer Evolution X Group N will use accessories usually found on all high-performance vehicles and familiar to all rally enthusiasts including sump-guard, floor guard with fuel tank protection and mud flaps. In the cockpit additional safety features have been added including five-point safety harnesses for the crew with bucket seats and a competition steering wheel.
As Course cars on Rally Japan, the Mitsubishi Lance Evolution Xs used will have revolving roof lights as well as a siren and loudspeaker to warn the many thousands a of spectators expected on the stages that the competitors will be arriving shortly.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X is scheduled to obtain the Group N homologation from the Federation International de L'Automobile (FIA) next summer with the new rally challenger taking part in international rallies during the second half of 2008 or 2009. Registration with the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) will be applied this year, allowing competitors to participate in JAF-sanctioned events with the new-generation Lancer Evolution X.
The development of the official reconnaissance vehicle plays a leading role when it comes to supplying competition parts/components to the customer early on. Also, the participation as course car will allow the automobile manufacturer and the rally specialist to technically verify the potential of rally cars prepared by customers who use these special components. Mitsubishi Motors and Ralliart are fully committed to making maximum use of the know-how and expertise learned through various motor sport activities to support future customers and for the development of the production model.