Hybrids are unquestionably here to stay in the world of motorsports. From the KERS systems used in Formula 1 to the hybrid race cars that have won the last 4 years in a row at Le Mans, hybrid technology has proven very useful for going fast. But plug-in cars haven’t quite so readily adopted for racing, as limited range and long charging times make them of limited use. But Mitsubishi is really determined to make the idea work with its rally car based on the Outlander plug-in hybrid. The car has been racing for a while, but Mitsubishi made some changes to it ahead of the Baja Portalegre 500 race.
Mitsubishi has even enlisted the help of two-time Dakar winner Hiroshi Masuoka. So if anybody can make the car a success, it’s him. Masuoka is also serving as team captain, and as a co-driver he has Pascal Maimon, who also did co-driver duty when Masuoka won the 2002 Dakar Rally. The car has competed in the Asia Cross Country Rally for the last three years, alongside a number of more traditional off-roaders made by Mitsubishi, such as the Triton and the Pajero, but this will be its first time at the Baja Portalegre 500.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Baja Race Car.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is gearing up take its 4WD 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV to the dirt in the Baja Portalegre 500 rally raid.
The specialized race version of the vehicle was specifically developed for the event, and will be piloted by Mitsubishi factory driver Hiroshi Masuoka, who is best known for winning back-to-back victories in the legendary Dakar rally raid in 2002 and 2003. He’s only the fourth driver in Dakar history to win in consecutive years. He also took victory in the 2003 Baja Italy and 2004 UAE Desert Challenge.
In addition to driving duties, Masuoka will also play the part of team captain. Supporting him will be a glut of Mitsubishi personnel, including team manager and technical director Yasuo Tanaka. Tanaka is also an engineering expert from the EV Component Research Department at Mitsubishi. Alongside him will be four engineers from the department.
Organized by the Portuguese Automobile Association, the Baja Portalegre 500 will see its 29th running this year, and will pit competitors against one another in 500 km (311 miles) of dirt, gravel, and punishingly harsh conditions. The event is part of the ninth round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, and over 300 vehicles are expected to take part, including cars, motorcycles, and quads. The Portalegre 500 is also known as a warm-up for the infamous Dakar rally, which is slated to kick off this coming January.
The Baja Portalegre 500 will take place in the Portalegre province of eastern Portugal between October 22nd and 24th. Entrants will see non-stop action over the entirety of the 500 km, halting only for brief 20-minute service intervals.
Continue reading for the full story.
We’ve told you about the Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III the automaker took to the Pikes Peak hill climb in June 2014, but now we bring you this rather thrilling video. Strapped to driver Greg Tracy’s roll cage, the camera records his record-breaking hill climb time of just 9:08.188. That’s the fasted time ever recorded for an all-electric car and the second fastest time of the entire event.
It’s amazing to watch just how quickly the MiEV Evolution III accelerates and handles around those corners. Then again, it’s not surprising considering the vehicle’s four electric motors kick out 611 horsepower. Each of those four motors are mounted at each wheel and help power the car through corners without any wheel spin. It’s part of the Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control all-wheel-drive system.
What’s more, the MiEV Evolution III had the advantage of not losing power as it climbed over 5,000 feet during its nine-minute run, unlike gasoline-powered vehicles. Also helping its case is a lightweight tube chassis and a wind tunnel-optimized body that helps cut through the air and provide substantial downforce at higher speeds.
Keep an eye on the speedometer as Tracy accelerates out of the hairpin corners. It’s amazing to watch the digits skip by, nearly counting by 10 as the scenery blurs by.
Mitsubishi is returning to this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with an improved iteration of its MiEV electric race car. After coming second and third in the Electric Modified class last year, Mitsubishi will be looking to cross the finish line in first position with an aerodynamically optimized and more powerful vehicle.
Specifically developed for the grueling Pikes Peak course, The MiEV Evolution III benefits from a redesigned tube-frame chassis and reshaped bodywork, the latter modeled after extensive wind tunnel testing. The resulting single-seater is lighter that its predecessor and provides more downforce thanks to its huge front spoiler and massive rear wing.
Fitted with electric motors at all corners, the Evolution III is also a lot more powerful than last year’s model, as the units now deliver a total output of 611 horsepower (450 kW). That’s a 68-horsepower increase over the Evolution II, which had 543 electrified ponies (400 kW) on tap. Enabling the vehicle to handle all that additional power is Mitsubishi’s redesigned Super All-Wheel Crontrol (S-AWC) system, one that returns better handling and improved traction control.
Driving duties for the 2014 Pikes Peak were handled to Hirochi Masuoka and Greg Tracy, the same aces that took both MiEV Evo IIs to podium finishes last year. While Tracy is a six-time Pikes Peak motorcycle champion, Masuoka has yet to experience success in the Rocky Mountains. However, the Japanese has two Dakar Rally overall wins to his name.
The 92nd running of the "Race to the Clouds" is set to begin on June 29 near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III.
Mitsubishi is preparing to enter this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb held from June 25 to June 30 with a specially prepared MiEV Evolution II all-electric prototype. Mitsubishi will have two entries in the competition and is hoping for an overall first place. Mitsubishi climbed the Pikes Peak last year for the first time when it managed to finish second in the Electric Division.
The prototype prepared for this year’s climb once again uses parts used in production vehicles combined with a high-capacity battery and high-output motors both specially designed by MMC’s suppliers.
When compared to the model raced last year, the new MiEV Evolution II receives a S-AWC (Super All-Wheel Control) integrated vehicle dynamics control system that helps increase handling and control.
The first MiEV Evolution II will be driven by two-time Dakar Rally overall champion Hiroshi Masuoka and the second one by Greg Tracy, six-time Pikes Peak motorcycle champion.
Click past the jump to read more about the Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution competitors.
Almost on a daily basis, we express our complete obsession with rally racing, as their drivers have to have ice in their veins to even consider whipping a car around these often treacherous tracks at triple-digit speeds. With this incredible speed and loose surfaces come some of the most incredible wrecks, but also some of the most incredible saves.
The above video comes to us from a Polish rally and from the date stamp on the video, it occurred on the August 11th. The driver of this Mitsubishi Evo came into a wet turn just a little too hot and went over the embankment at the end of the turn. Suddenly the car ends up on two wheels, but somehow it winds up back on the road and heads in a straight path.
Typically, when a racecar hits two wheels, an inexperienced driver simply plays damage control. He prepares for impact and hangs on. This driver is obviously rather seasoned, as he maintains control, doesn’t panic, and acts as if nothing happened once the car is back on all fours. This definitely qualifies as an entrant into the Save of the Year running for 2012.
Check out the video for yourself. There is one video above and two more after the jump. It’s rather impressive, but pretty loud, so you may want to adjust the volume on your speakers a little.
Click past the jump to see the two alternate views.
Electric vehicles running up Pikes Peak isn’t entirely a novelty anymore, especially after we saw a Nissan Leaf and a custom EV from AC Propulsion do it just last year.
This year, Japanese automaker is jumping on the bandwagon by building a custom i-MiEV Prototype that they hope to unleash on Pikes Peak. Called the i-MiEV Evolution, the Pikes Peak-bound race car doesn’t look anything like the i-MiEV. For one, this prototype actually looks like a certified racer, as opposed to the flat-iron-looking i-MiEV.
Despite its completely different look, the i-MiEV Evolution features the same electric motor, drive battery, and a lot of other major components of the production i-MiEV. The i-MiEV Evolution will be using three electric motors - one for the front two wheels, and two for each rear wheel - producing a total output of 322 horsepower. Combine that number to the car’s lightweight structure and you have a race car that’s fixing to make some serious noise at Pikes Peak.
Sitting behind the wheel of the i-MiEV Evolution Pikes Peak Race Car will be two-time Dakar Rally Champion, Hiroshi Masuoka.
It’s pretty interesting to see how Mitsubishi will continue to evolve their i-MiEV Pikes Peak Race Car leading up to this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. We’re not expecting the car to set any records, but it will be cool to see how it fares relative to the times set by the Nissan Leaf last year.
We haven’t heard a whole lot from Mitsubishi these days so imagine how excited we were when we found out that a Mitsubishi AMS Drag EVO VIII caught everyone’s attention at The Texas Mile after it broke the world record for a standing mile on a four cylinder with a top speed of 228 miles per hour.
While the record itself was an achievement in its own right, it still got overshadowed by the events that transpired as soon as the car crossed the timing traps. Watch this video and you’ll notice at around the 1:22 mark that smoke starts coming out of the car only as a small preview to the flames that literally start coming out from under the hood. Driver Eric Jones vainly tried to activate the fire suppression system, but when he realized that it would be for naught, decided on a better course of action by jumping out of the car.
Overall, the AMS team had quite an eventful time at The Texas Mile and if it wasn’t for the Evo-catching-fire-after-breaking-world-record episode, the boys from AMS would have had a weekend to remember. Although, I think it was a weekend to remember anyway.
Back in August, we got a first look at Mitsubishi’s off-road racing version of the Lancer. Now Mitsubishi will be putting it to the test with a debut at Portugal’s Baja Portalegre beginning on October 30th and running through November 2nd.
Like the VW Touareg 2 off road racer we saw earlier this week, the Mitsu will use diesel power. The Racing Lancer is powered by a 3.0-liter diesel V6 engine that delivers a maximum power of more than 280hp. The car features a fully-integrated multi-tubular steel frame, lowered positioning of the fuel tank for a lower overall center of gravity, and Brembo brakes with 16-inch ventilated discs and six-piston calipers all around.
As much as you may want to bring this car to hunting camp this winter, don’t bother even trying to pick one up at your neighborhood Mitsubishi dealer.
Press release after the jump.