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November 20, 2022

Mitsubishi Hopes To Re-Discover Their Identity With The Strada Ralliart Rally Car (w/ Video)

Hiroshi Masuoka believes that motorsports is part of Mitsubishi Motors’ unique identity; their so-called “Mitsubishi-ness.” A part of the brand’s “Small But Beautiful” mid-term plan, it includes the return of the storied Ralliart name after a lengthy hiatus.

Though “Ralliart” conjures up images of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Pajero dominating the World Rally Championship and Dakar Rally, the carmaker realizes that they need to get back into their competitive groove first. After all, you don’t shake off 12 years’ worth of rust overnight.

This has led to Mitsubishi Motors Corporation deciding to offer technical support to the privately-owned Thai-based TANT Sports team as they compete in the 2022 Asia Cross Country Rally or AXCR.

The AXCR is considered as Asia’s longest and most grueling rally course. The FIA-certified cross-country (rally raid) has been running since 1996, and offers a different route each year; the start though is traditionally always held in Thailand. For its 27th outing, it starts from Buriram in Northeastern Thailand and will finish in Siem Reap in Cambodia. Along the way, teams—in four, three, and two wheels—will traverse through various terrain be it tarmac, mountain, jungle, swamp beachside, river, and even desert.

The varying road conditions, Masuoka believes, provides an opportune time to bring Mitsubishi Ralliart back to the world stage of rallying.

Competing in the Class T1.2 which are composed of diesel-powered 4x4s, the Strada is up against some stiff competition—the same sort of competition it would expect at showrooms.

Starting with a stock Strada, which is already lightweight for its size, engineers worked to shed the kilos. This meant that the steel doors and hood have been swapped for carbon fiber.

Then, the robust frame has been reinforced with the help of under guards and a full roll cage. Surprisingly, Mitsubishi opted against putting in rear coil springs in favor of keeping the same suspension setup with front independent double wishbones and rear leaf springs. They, however, did add Cusco adjustable dampers to both ends and increased the ride height.

The Strada Rally Car comes with the same Super Select 4WD-II system found in the stock Strada. This means that unlike pickup trucks which has three modes to its four-wheel drive system—2WD High, 4WD High, and 4WD Low, this one has four: 2H, 4H, 4HLc, and 4LLc. Here, 4H is used to maximize traction on pavement during hazardous conditions or slippery roads. It acts almost like an all-wheel drive in the process. Meanwhile, both 4HLc and 4LLc locks the center differential splitting the power between the front- and rear wheels in a 50/50 split. From here, Cusco front and rear limited slip differentials have been added.

Completing the handling package are front and rear Endless ventilated disc brakes with 4-piston calipers, Work 17-inch alloy wheels, and Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 265/70R17 tires.

Keeping the Strada Rally Car as relatable to the showroom unit as much as possible, Mitsubishi also opted to keep the 2.4-liter 4N15 MIVEC turbo diesel and 6-speed manual drivetrain combo. Work, though, has been one to reduce its internal friction and improve its mid-range punch. Mitsubishi hasn’t released the official power figures of AXCR challenger but the stock version makes 181 horsepower and 430 Nm of torque.

Masuoka believes that the Strada, being built around maneuverability gives Mitsubishi an edge versus the competition. But as a full-time member of the Mitsubishi family, he also believes this could be the start of something bigger. At Ralliart’s current state, he knows it’s currently limited to accessories packs. Ultimately, he thinks it will lead Mitsubishi to design and build vehicles which are better to drive. At the most demanding laboratory, motorsports, Mitsubishi believes they’ll find their identity once more.

Mitsubishi Strada Ralliart Rally Car
  • Overall Length: 5,300 mm
  • Overall Width: 1,815 mm
  • Wheelbase: 3,000 mm
  • Front Tread: 1,520 mm
  • Rear Tread: 1,515 mm
  • Engine: 4N15 4-cylinder MIVEC Turbo Diesel
  • Fuel Injector: High-Pressure Common Rail Injection
  • Displacement: 2,442 cc
  • Power: 181 PS (Maximum)
  • Torque: 430 Nm (Maximum)
  • Transmission: 6-speed MT
  • 4WD System: Super Select 4WD-II
  • Differential: CUSCO Front and Rear LSD
  • Front Suspension: Independent, Double Wishbone w/ Coil Springs
  • Rear Suspension: Rigid Leaf Springs
  • Shock Absorbers: CUSCO Adjustable Front & Rear Dampers
  • Steering: Rack & Pinion, Power Assist
  • Brakes: Endless Front & Rear Ventilated Disc w/ 4-piston Calipers
  • Wheels: WORK 17 x 8 J
  • Tires: Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 265/70R17

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