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Top of the world

You remember the premise of the movie don’t you, Neo was the chosen one to save all of mankind. Well the expectations here aren’t as biblical as The Matrix and the closest the Neo here is going to get to Monica Bellucci is a picture you can stick on the dash but nonetheless the third place overall finish of the N1 Racing Proton Satria Neo in the recently concluded Sepang 1,000km 2011 is certainly worth being marked on your calendars as the first time a Neo has taken the podium in the S1K race.

Now don’t go thinking that the Neo used for the feat is packing some heavy armaments as in fact, the powertrain and drivetrain are pretty much stock save for a little electronic enhancement to really squeeze every last pony out of the capable engine.

Starting with a showroom floor Satria Neo, the chassis was the bit that underwent some serious modifications in preparation for the demanding race. The first thing in was a custom multi-point roll cage welded to the chassis with gusset plates for additional rigidity. As you’ll see from the shots, the crew at N1 Racing also decided to put in some air jacks to make changing tyres easier. The air jacks were integrated with the cage for maximum chassis strength. The gorgeous cage is the handiwork of Harry Chai of S&D Motorsports that come with a wealth of experience in prepping race chassis’ for race use.

The final piece of the puzzle though was the custom made RCS 3-way adjustable coilovers that were made to the specifications of the car and its intended use.

Pop the hood and leave it up with the Tein hood dampers , you’ll be hard pressed to tell the differences from this engine bay to one on a stock road-going Neo. Apart from an R3 extractor and a Skunk2 Mega Power R exhaust that are linked to each other with some custom piping, you’ll find everything else is just as it left the factory.

Cooling is given some priority with a custom aluminium radiator while PU engine mounts hold the lump steadily in place during its high-revving life on the circuit. The stock fuel tank was ditched in favour of an ATL fuel cell mounted in the boot for optimum balance. All lubricating and cooling duties are courtesy of the complete range from Moty’s, a leading name in engine lubricants and cooling.

Engine parameters are governed by a Motec M800 standalone ECU. This is the single, most advanced modification to the engine as it allows Desmond of N1 to optimally tune the engine and wring every last bit of power from it. The M800 is attached to a Motec SDL Dash / Logger that displays engine speed, gear and other vital information regarding the engine to the driver.

Sending power to the front wheels is the stock transmission that receives a beefed up clutch to cope with the full-blown shifts. Using the stock transmission with just a stronger clutch is testament to the capability of the gearbox and some of the abuse it can cope with.

Having switched to a smaller wheel and tyre package for quicker acceleration, the front brakes are a set of AP Racing four-piston units paired with racing brake pads clamping on slotted rotors that proved to be more than sufficient for the little hatch. The wheels used are a set of lightweight 5Zigen FN01R.C in gleaming bronze for that true racecar look with the rubbers naturally being Federal’s finest.

Aesthetical aspects weren’t given much consideration with functionality the utmost priority. Hence, the only exterior mods you’ll find are external bumper brackets linking the bumpers to the body for ease of removal in case of a fender bender. A pair of bonnet hooks were also slapped onto the front to keep the hood from popping up and making oatmeal of the windscreen down the straight.

In typical racecar fashion, the interior consists of no interior. Everything was stripped with only the essentials remaining. The drivers park their behinds in a Bride Zeta III full bucket seat. This one differs from the others Zeta III’s a little as this is a special edition meant only for the Japanese market. It comes wrapped in luxury suede fabric and grey stitching all over. The shell is constructed from super aramide for increased rigidity and also helps keep the weight down to a mere 7.4kg.

A Sparco five-point harness holds the driver firmly against the seat while he grips onto an OMP deep-dish steering wheel. The final piece of the interior is a Sparco in-car fire suppression system to meet the race regulations.

It might have taken an exceptional drive from the trio to take the final spot on the podium but the team isn’t leaving out anybody in the celebrations. This was undoubtedly a full team effort right from the drivers to the pit crew and they fantastic strategy laid out to successfully pace themselves.

Furthermore, N1 Racing won’t be resting on their laurels come 2012. Even though some are predicting the world as we know it will cease to exist, the team are planning a full assault on next year’s motorsports calendar with confirmed participation in the Saturday Night Fever series, Megalap time attack series and of course the 2012 edition of the S1K.

Desmond Yee of N1 Racing is also hoping for more motorsports events next year. Even with the three events mentioned above, things on the motorsports front are still scarce and more events aren’t going to hurt anybody.

You can be assured that the team will be packing a beefed up machine next year for all the events lined up. This record-setting Satria Neo might not be looking quite the same at the next event so keep your eyes peeled as N1 Racing’s Neo zips by on the straight.

Car: N1 Racing Proton Satria Neo for S1K
Engine: R3 extractor, PU engine mounts, custom aluminium radiator, ATL fuel cell, full range of Moty’s lubricants and coolant, Skunk2 Mega Power R exhaust with custom piping
Electronics: Motec M800, Motec SDL Dash / Logger, Motec LED shift indicator,
Transmission: Stock
Chassis & Handling: Custom welded roll cage with integrated air jacks by Harry Chai of S&D Motorsports, RCS 3-way adjustable suspension
Brakes: AP Racing four-piston calipers (front)
Wheels: 5Zigen FN01R.C, Federal FZ201 semi slicks 195/50/15
Exterior: external bumper bracket, bonnet hooks, Tein hood dampers
Interior: Bride full bucket seat, Sparco five-point racing harness, OMP deep-dish steering wheel, Sparco in-car fire suppression system
Garage: N1 Racing, RCS, S&D Motorsports

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