Mitsubishi’s sophisticated Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is set to tackle a new frontier when it takes on one of the toughest off-road events in outback Australia next month.
With technical support from Mitsubishi Motors Australia (MMAL), Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia (TMR Australia) will enter a plug-in hybrid Outlander PHEV in the iconic Australasian Safari, which takes place in Western Australia from 19-27 September.
It will be the first plug-in hybrid four-wheel drive officially entered in an Australian motorsport event – including the Safari, which is considered one of the most demanding off-road endurance rallies in Australia.
Experienced local driver and co-driver team of Steve Glenney and Bernie Webb will put the TMR Australia petrol electric Outlander PHEV through its paces during the nine-day outback event.
The Outlander PHEV will compete in class A1 for production vehicles, in a category specially created for hybrid or dual powered vehicles.
TMR Australia’s Australasian Safari entry marks the third international off-road rally outing for an Outlander PHEV since its launch in late 2012. Previously, the Outlander PHEV’s all-terrain performance and durability have been tested in the Thailand, Cambodia Asia Cross Country Rally, which the Mitsubishi SUV successfully completed in 2013 and 2014.
TMR Australia Outlander PHEV Safari Team Principal Alan Heaphy said the Australasian Safari is a challenging event that demands stamina and endurance from competitors and vehicles alike.
“We’re very excited about building the first plug-in hybrid to compete in the Australasian Safari,” he said.
“The Outlander PHEV showcases the latest Mitsubishi hybrid and four-wheel drive technology, making it an ideal platform for an entry in the Australasian Safari.
“From our long-term experience working with Mitsubishi products, the quality of engineering and technology is a good match for motorsport, and we’re looking forward to proving the Outlander PHEV’s durability and technology in genuine off-road conditions.”
Competing in Australasian Safari production class A1, the Outlander PHEV will be built to meet FIA specification with only minor modifications made for durability and safety.
To help it withstand the punishing conditions, the Outlander PHEV will have extra underbody and frontal protection, reinforced suspension arms and strut towers along with competition brake pads, rally tyres and springs with adjustable dampers for added strength and durability.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV. It uses Mitsubishi Motors’ advanced electric vehicle technology by combining a 2.0L MIVEC petrol engine with high output 60kW twin front and rear motors, high capacity 12kWh drive battery and regenerative braking system for maximum efficiency and performance.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation will support the TMR Australia Outlander PHEV Safari entry by sending three plug-in hybrid specialist engineers to Western Australia for technical assistance during the gruelling seven day event, which will cover more than 2,500 competitive kilometres through sand, salt plains, dry river beds and rugged desert tracks.
The 2014 Australasian Safari concludes in Kalbarri – 600 kilometres north of Perth – on Saturday 27 September.
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