The Proton Satria GTi is a car with great performance potential. It handles
well outa the box, it’s practical and well equipped for the money. But
straight-line performance? Well, there’s plenty of room for improvement...
Caleb Prescotts of Brisbane bought this Satria GTi new in 2003 and it wasn’t
long before he started wishing for more grunt. In standard form, the Satria
GTi’s 4G93 1.8 litre engine spits out 103kW at the flywheel - not bad for an
atmo engine but hardly the stuff to scare the owners of WRXs, Skylines and S13s.
But the tables were turned when Caleb whacked in a 55hp nitrous shot to help the
little Satria blast out about 100kW at the wheels (measured on a Dyno Dynamics
The nitrous kit gave plenty of bang for buck. Unfortunately, there was some
extra bang that Caleb could’ve done without – the engine ran lean and
At this point, Caleb looked in the direction of the Mitsubishi parts bin and
there was one stand-out engine conversion – ditch the existing atmo 4G93 for a
turbocharged 4G93 (ala Mitsubishi Lancer GSR AWD).
"The GSR turbo engine was really easy to fit," says Caleb.
"It went in using the standard engine mounts and we got it up and running
with the standard Mitsubishi computer. It all plugged in nicely."
At this point, the standard Satria GTi gearbox was retained. The only
associated change was a hydraulic clutch system.
With turbocharged power, Caleb’s Satria GTi cranked out an easy 120kW at the
front wheels. This was later increased to 170kW at the treads thanks to a
MicroTech LT8 programmable management system, Evo high-flow turbo and custom
With a massive 170kW at the wheels, the Satria was an electrifyingly quick
machine. But unfortunately, this mechanical incarnation also came to a premature end – a cam
belt was thrown, resulting in a collection of bent valves and one big mess.
A rebuild was on the cards but Caleb saw our article Satria VR4?!
and though it’d be cool to drop in the mighty 4G63 2.0 litre turbo engine. But
not just any 4G63 – a Japanese-spec VR4 ‘Evo 0’ motor! The conversion to Evo
power was a relatively easy process requiring a custom front engine mount and a
slice out of the bonnet frame to clear the valve cover.
Engine internals are stock except for a pair of AEM adjustable cam gears. At
the time of writing, these were set at the standard cam timing – some
experimentation was yet to be carried out. Output is increased beyond standard
using a Turbonetics T3/T04E turbo with a 38mm Tial external wastegate mounted on
a custom tubular exhaust manifold. A screamer pipe accepts gasses from the
wastegate while a 3 inch exhaust accepts gas flow from the turbine.
A big Hybrid air-to-air intercooler lives in the nosecone and you’ll find a
TurboSmart Type 3 blow-off valve incorporated into the custom plumbing. The
standard intake manifold has also been discarded for a custom set-up that
employs a Ford XF throttle body.
A set of Mazda RX7 Series 5 injectors (rated at 550cc) replace the already
high-flow Evo injectors while a SX regulator, braided lines and Walbro pump
complete the fuel system. The ignition system retains the standard VR4 Evo 0
coil pack. Fuel and ignition are controlled using the MicroTech ECU fitted
in the Satria’s previous incarnation. Boost pressure is adjusted to a maximum of
18 psi using a TurboXS manual bleed valve. Warren Molloy Motorsport can be
thanked for much of the set-up and tuning.
Interestingly, the standard Satria driveline stood up to the output of the
tuned 4G63. But only for a short while...
Caleb says the standard ‘box did about 4000km kilometres with the 2.0 litre
turbo before the synchros died and he was locked out of all gears. The solution
has been to drop in a Mitsubishi Lancer GSR AWD gearbox with a custom shaft to
take drive to only the front wheels. A KAAZ mechanical LSD and brass button
clutch have also been slipped in. So far, there haven’t been any problems with
this combo except for one snapped CV joint.
The brakes have also been improved with parts from Mitsubishi. Caleb says
Lancer Evo 3 276mm discs and 2-pot calipers were a bolt-on upgrade using Lancer
GSR hubs. The standard Satria discs remain at the rear. The handling balance is
pretty well sorted from factory so all Caleb has done is switch to Hot Bits
adjustable coil-overs – standard swaybars and bushes remain.
Visually, the Satria GTi is pretty eye-catching for a hatchback. Caleb’s
example stands out even more thanks to a custom front bar, Buddy Club Civic side
skirts and clear lens taillights. The factory flared wheel arches are filled by
attractive 17 inch X1 rims wearing 215/40 rubber.
Proton gave the Satria GTi cabin plenty of go-fast gear but Caleb has added
more for good measure. Additional gauge-ware includes a MicroTech dash, A’PEXi
EL boost gauge, Rev/Speed meter, EGT display (which has shown a 710 degrees
Celsius peak measured post-turbine), AutoMeter monster tacho and shift light.
The sound system kicks off with a Pioneer CD/tuner head unit wired to two
amplifiers, 6½ inch Focal splits and a 12 inch sub-woofer.
Despite the extra mass of the 2.0 turbo engine, bigger brakes and sub-woofer,
Caleb says his Satria GTi weighs in at under 1100kg. An ATW power figure hasn’t
been recorded because nobody can prevent the little Proton from wheel-spinning on
the dyno rollers. But whatever the output figure is, it’s obvious this is one
sensationally quick machine.
"It’s just crazy," says Caleb.
"It comes on from about 3600 rpm and lights up the tyres in 1st, 2nd and
The best quarter mile time to date is a 13.4 at 116 mph (achieved with street
tyres and a relatively poor launch). A low 13 is nothing to be sneezed at but
you can expect to see this car go even faster with its new owner at the helm.
That’s right. Caleb has recently sold his modified Proton to a mate who is
shooting for the Australian front-wheel-drive quarter mile record.
Caleb? Well, he’s quite happy riding his new 10 second sports bike!
WM (Warren Molloy) Motorsport +61 7 3205 1951
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