Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia (TMR) today officially revealed its FIA-specification Outlander PHEV and Triton 2014 Australasian Safari contenders just three days ahead of the iconic off-road event’s ceremonial start.
More than 330 hours in the making, the production class Outlander PHEV rally car is the first entry of its kind in an Australian motorsport event.
Piloted by driver Steve Glenney and co-driver Bernie Webb, the TMR Australia Outlander PHEV will compete in a production category designed purely for electric and hybrid vehicles – P1.6.
Steve Glenney said the crew was busy preparing for the challenge of steering the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV through some of Australia’s toughest and most remote countryside.
“The Australasian Safari is a notoriously challenging event – its gruelling combination of long straight desert roads, dry creek bed crossings and rocky terrain means drivers and co-drivers need to be both physically and mentally ready for eight full days of competitive driving,” he said.
“We already know Mitsubishi’s proven four-wheel drive technology makes it an ideal fit for rallying, but the real thrill for us is the unique experience of driving the Outlander PHEV in such an iconic event.”
Australian rally legend and former Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Ed Odynski will lend his support to TMR Australia throughout the Outlander PHEV’s Safari effort.
Mr Ordynski said he was pleased to once again join forces with Team Mitsubishi Ralliart and be involved with the team running Australia’s first ever plug-in hybrid rally car in the Australasian Safari.
“Mitsubishi’s intuitive plug-in hybrid EV technology impressed me when I drove the Outlander PHEV earlier this year,” he said.
“The technology is really quite sophisticated and I’m looking forward to helping the team use the strengths of the Outlander PHEV’s lightweight electric vehicle system to optimise our performance in the Safari.
“The high torque characteristic of the electric motors and instant throttle response – which work so effectively in everyday driving – are ideally suited to the demanding driving conditions we’ll experience during the Safari.
The 2014 Australasian Safari will run from Perth to Kalbarri in Western Australia from 19-27 September.
The Outlander PHEV rally car has been built to meet FIA international motorsport competition standards. To endure the severe terrain and road conditions expected in the Australasian Safari, TMR Australia has specifically developed a number of components for the Outlander PHEV.
A new competition spring and shock absorber package has been developed with increased ride height. Extensive underbody guards and stone deflection flaps have been designed to protect the engine sump, drive battery and fuel tank. The Outlander PHEV rally car is also fitted with a unique roll over protection cage to protect occupants in the event of an accident and to add strength to the vehicle whilst supporting a number of items required to be carried during the event.
Outlander PHEV Crew
Driver Steve Glenney – With championship winning performances across tarmac, gravel and circuit racing, professional driver and drive instructor Steve Glenney is widely regarded as the fastest and most versatile driver in Australian motorsport. Steve has recorded wins at both national and international level circuit racing, gravel rally championships and tarmac rallies, including Targa Tasmania.
Co-driver Bernie Webb – With an eye for perfection, Bernie Webb has turned his extensive experience as a co-driver into a full time career, as an official stage note supplier for high profile motorsport events such as Targa Tasmania. Bernie and Steve Glenney have worked closely together since 2005.
Driver Peter Nunn – With gravel rally experience spanning nearly three decades, and 20 years’ experience building and servicing rally cars, Peter Nunn has a talent for extracting performance from a vehicle with a deep knowledge of how it works and how to care for it. Peter was also heavily involved in building both the Outlander PHEV and Triton rally cars, making him the ideal support driver for the team.
Co-driver Damien Roach – A fully qualified auto electrician with an extensive background in gravel and tarmac rallying, Damien also has experience behind the wheel in drifting and circuit racing. Damien recently recorded his first Targa Tasmania win as co-driver in 2013 in the Early Modern Category.