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Production road cars that double as track day machines are not uncommon, as we’ve seen with the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, Renault Megane RS Trophy-R and Volkswagen GTI Clubsport S. These vehicles are not only perfectly legal to use on the road, but also qualify for certain race series, be it of the one-make or Clubsport variety.
While most people are familiar with offerings from foreign brands, did you know that Proton once developed and sold such a model in the past? If you didn’t, allow us to introduce you to the Satria Neo R3 Clubsport.
Developed by Proton’s in-house racing division R3, the model was first introduced in 2008 at a time when Tengku Djan Ley – the Prince of Drift – led the team. Developed to be part of a one-make race series, the Neo Clubsport was built in extremely limited numbers, with just 25 units made.
The car was based on the 1.6 manual variant of the Neo that featured a S4PH 1.6 litre Campro four-cylinder engine, which offered less power (110 hp/148 Nm) compared to the newer (and updated) 1.6 H-line that packed a Campro CPS engine with 125 hp and 150 Nm of torque.
However, the S4PH was easier to modify, and with different cams, as well as a new ECU and exhaust system, the Neo Clubsport came from the factory with 137 hp. That may not sound like a lot, but with various weight-saving measures also put in place, the car weighed just 1,050 kg, or 109 kg less than stock.
Besides the weight reduction and enhanced engine, the car also came with a FIA-certified, six-point roll cage and coilover suspension to ensure it could perform on the track. As the Neo Clubsport received JPJ’s Vehicle Type Approval (VTA) that allowed it to be registered and driven on the road, there was no issue with using the car’s roll cage on the road.
Despite all this, the Neo Clubsport appears relatively unassuming, with only a selection of changes to mark it out as something special. At the front, R3 fitted a bumper under spoiler, while the new rear wing is set at an aggressive angle.
Elsewhere, the car gets bonnet pins, tailgate clips, a front tow hook, model-specific badging, a graphic of the Sepang International Circuit, R3 alloy wheels, Bridgestone Potenza RE001 tyres, as well as a kill switch that cuts off electrical supply in the event of an accident.
As for the interior, all the carpets have been removed and the roll cage is joined by a pair of Recaro TS-G racing bucket seats, complete with Sparco seatbelts. The original steering wheel and accompanying air bag are also ditched in favour of a Momo Tuner unit, which comes with a quick-release boss kit. Final touches include an additional kill switch where the head unit should be, and a verification plate to identify it as a R3 model.
All these modifications amount to a cost of RM29,000, and the whole car was priced at RM75,000, which is rather affordable for a factory-built racing machine. While it is tempting, customers that did buy the car were required to participate in a Neo Clubsport one-make race series that lasted only for a year, which did add some additional costs.