Mitsubishi has a long history of rallying. They entered the sport in the '70s with the Lancer 1600 GSR and saw immediate success by winning its competition debut. In the '80s they entered the World Rally Championship, first with the Lancer 2000 EX, then with the Group B Starion, and the Galant VR-4. But it was in the '90s where they saw a lot of success with the Lancer Evolution series, winning four titles in a row. And let's not forget their exploits in the Dakar Rally with the Pajero.
While they're not as active in motorsport today, they're still at it. Recently, they built the Xpander AP4 rally car with the help of Ralliart New Zealand to compete in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. Now, they have another dirt racer that's ready to roll: the Mirage.
Also developed by Ralliart New Zealand, the new Mirage rally car is an evolution (no pun intended) of the Mirage R5 competing in junior rally categories. Now featuring the new look, this rally Mirage has nearly no common parts with the humble road-going version. So what did Ralliart do to the popular hatchback?
First, they stripped it down to its bare shell and chucked out all of the interior panels. After that, they added welds to the car for extra strength and added a roll cage for good measure. If that wasn't enough, they even modified the floor to accommodate an all-wheel-drive system. Yes, you read that right - this Mirage is all-wheel-drive.
But the extreme makeover didn't stop there. Ralliart New Zealand threw out the fuel-sipping 1.2-liter engine for a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine. The team didn't mention what it is, but we're placing our bets on a highly-modified version of the 4B11T. If that sounds familiar, it's the same engine used in the Lancer Evolution X.
With the car running a unique suspension set-up, the hatchback's body was also modified. The fender flares and wheel arches are wider and bigger than the ones you'll find in showrooms. Big brakes and beefy dampers? You'll see it here too. For extra aero, there's a massive rear wing that will make the Lancer Evolution proud.
We're curious how much power this Mirage rally car makes. Ralliart New Zealand didn't mention any specs for their latest creation yet, but it might be similar to the Xpander AP4. It might be using the Evo X’s stock 2.0-liter 4B11 with displacement likely bumped down to 1.6-liters to suit Asia-Pacific Rally Championship regulations. If we were to base it on the Xpander rally car, this Mirage might be putting out around 350 PS and over 500 Nm of torque.
Sadly, Mitsubishi won't make a production version of the Ralliart Mirage. Still, it would be awesome if they made an all-wheel-drive Mirage with about 300 PS for the road. Now that sounds like a very potent hot hatch. If only Mitsubishi makes it a reality.