Previewed late last month, the Outlander PHEV will create history by becoming the first plug-in hybrid to compete in the safari - sparking a new category from event organisers specifically for electric- and hybrid-powered entries.
Built over 330 hours to FIA specifications, the Outlander has been modified to handle the Australian outback with improvements such as a roll cage, upgraded suspension package with increased ride-height and extensive underbody protection for the engine and batteries.
The Outlander will also be carrying fire extinguishers, a rally trip-computer, UHF radio and outback survival equipment; such as emergency drinking water and a first-aid kit.
Otherwise, it’s a ‘stock-standard’ affair for the Outlander PHEV, with power coming from the same 87kW/186Nm 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine matched with two electric motors as found in the road-going model.
Driver Steve Glenney and co-driver Bernie Webb will be tasked with guiding the PHEV through the outback.
“The Australasian Safari is a notoriously challenging event - its gruelling combination of long straight desert roads, dry creek bed crossings and rocky terrain means drivers and co-drivers need to be both physically and mentally ready for eight full days of competitive driving,” Glenney said.
“We already know Mitsubishi’s proven four-wheel-drive technology makes it an ideal fit for rallying, but the real thrill for us is the unique experience of driving the Outlander PHEV in such an iconic event.”
Meanwhile, a second entry for the Mitsubishi team will be a more ‘conventional’ racer, with a rally-prepared Triton pickup to be piloted by driver Peter Nunn and co-driver Damien Roach.
The 2014 Australasian Safari will run from Perth to Kalbarri in Western Australia from September 19-27.