Since 2005 Mitsubishi has not been taking part as a constructors team in the World Rally Championship (WRC). And although Mitsubishi vowed that they will return in time, the return will actually be faster than most had hoped for. In the upcoming Japanese round of the FIA WRC, or just Rally Japan, the brand new Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X will be testing the track as a Course Car.
The Evo X Course Car (otherwise known as a Zero-Zero or Zero car) will include various new features like the integrated roll cage with extensive reinforcements and RalliArt purpose-built components for the running gear, brakes and the RalliArt constant-mesh close ratio gearbox. On the exterior, the usual race components can be found including sump-guard, floor guard with fuel tank protection and mud flaps. Inside bucket seats with five-point harness seat the driver and co-pilot.
One of the main motivators for Mitsubishi to supply Rally Japan with the Evo X Course Car is to put the car (and its components) through some rigorous tests. The competition components and parts will be made available before the Evo X makes it to the WRC stage and the WRC team wants to see what their car can do in the field.
Next summer Mitsubishi is expecting to be approved for Group N homologation from the Federation International de L'Automobile (FIA) which would allow a return to WRC half-way 2008 or early 2009.