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|Mitsubishi Starion 4WD Rally Car|
|Category||Group B WRC|
|Constructor||Mitsubishi / Ralliart|
|Engine|| 2.0 litre (1995cc) 4G63 SOHC Inline-4|
2.1 litre (2140cc) 4G63 SOHC Inline-4
|Power|| 350 hp @ 6500 rpm |
253 lb-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
|Debut||pending (if not yet introduced)|
|Designer||Designer (lead designer if it was a team effort)|
Based on the rear wheel drive Mitsubishi flagship, the Starion, the Starion 4WD set out with the goal of winning in group B. It was a 4WD, 350 horsepower version of the Mitsubishi Starion, being developed for group B international competition by Andrew Cowan's British-based Ralliart Team. The team included Alan Wilkinson — an engineer whose rallying credentials are second to none. He came to Team Ralliart via Ford's competition department, Toyota Team Europe and Audi Sport UK, where he was responsible for their very successful Quattro. The mechanical specification of the Starion 4WD Rally were very much a large part of Alan Wilkinson's job, to develop a competition configuration for the car that can then be used for the 20 evolutionary models the company needed to build to gain Group B homologation. With permanent four-wheel-drive and a 2-litre turbocharged engine, the Starion Rally is a very far cry from the old Lancers. Official Group B homologation of the Starion Rally would have come in time for the team to make its debut in world championship rallying with a two car entry on the 1986 Lombard RAC Rally in November. Homologation never occured after it was announced that the 1986 season would be the last for Group B.
During its early development the Starion used a version of Mitsubishi's two-litre turbo engine, with intercooler and computer controlled fuel injection system. But the goal was 350hp using the Sirius Dash engine that Mitsubishi announced at the 1983 Tokyo Motor Show. This engine featured a special three valves per cylinder head with two inlet valves for each cylinder—one operates all the time and the other is electronically controlled to come into operation only over 2500rpm. It is said to provide good top end performance without having to sacrifice power at the lower end of the rev range. Fuel injection was handled by a Bosch EFI computer. The turbocharger is of unknown size but was manufactured by Mitusbishi Heavey Industries.
Power is transfered through a twin plate clutch to the same 5 speed transmission as the RWD Starion, but with stonger internals and a transfer case from the Pajero. This takes the drive sideways to a second propshaft that goes forwards to the front wheels: torque is permanently 50% / 50% front/rear. It would have required considerable effort to design an alternate system for what is regarded as only the marginal benefits of adjustable torque split. The front axel line runs under number two cylinder. This results in the engine sitting higher in the chassis, but it would create insuperable problems to move the power unit significantly further back. This resulted in the crank centerline being about 6 degrees from the horizontal.
The project had been conceived as a converted RWD car and the was still front-end heavy. It runs on the same, 96" wheelbase as the standard car but, overall, it is nearly 6" shorter. The most visible change to the chassis was to shorten the front overhang, a simple operation because new, lightweight front panels had to be designed in any case. The flip up headlights were replaced by more traditional sealed beam units. Getting the weight down to a minimum has been an important objective in the Starion's design and as a result the car uses carbon-fibre reinforced plastics for the propshafts, sumpguard and lower control arms of the McPherson strut suspension. Virtually all the exterior body panels are in glass-fibre and plastic (Carbon & Kevlar on Evolution models): bonnet, tailgate, door skins, wings, bumpers and spoilers. The resulting weight was around 1050 kgs.
Complete Racing Results
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position)
Notes and references
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