The Satria Neo and the Preve have been spearheading proton’s charge in the motorsports scene for quite some time. Whether on gravel or tarmac, Proton’s R3 motorsport division will continue their effort in turning their road-based cars into furious racers in displaying the hidden capabilities of their machines.

But it seems that the new addition into Proton’s line up might be leading the national automaker’s Malaysia Super Series (MSS) charge this year as they have been seen testing the all new Suprima S R3 at Sepang International Circuit. Sharing with us some valuable input during this shakedown session is Proton R3’s race driver himself, James Veerapan.

(00)’: How has the shakedown session going on so far for the Suprima S R3?

James: I did not have much time with Suprima S for these couple of days. But based on the tests, so far the Preve is a bit quicker; but obviously it is going to be quicker because we know more about the car. The Suprima S is supposed to be the same as the Preve – the dimensions and mechanically, it is more or less the same – but it still needs a bit of work for now. We are now focusing on getting the power up. A lot of knowledge from the Preve should be transferable to the Suprima S, so we do not have to start from square one and essentially use the Preve as the base work from there, like what we have done in these couple of days.

(00)’: Is there any major difference between the Suprima S and the Preve?

James: Mechanically, the Suprima S should be better due to the weight distribution as it is a mid-sized hatch, instead of having a boot in the rear.

(00)’: How far apart are the lap times between the Satria Neo and the Suprima S?

James: The quickest the Neo had ever done was a (2-minute) 38 flat, so today in the Suprima S we are doing about 42-s. But it also depends on the conditions. Today, we are running on a slightly different drivetrain/power package.

(00)’: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

James: Good luck to the teams for the first round, and this year is going to be tough. If Honda comes is, they are going to be quick. If Tedco is in, they will also be quick; the same goes to Ah Lai. So this year is going to be like a four-horse race. And this is good for the series, good for the sport; but it also means that we would have to work harder. We certainly cannot rest and take it easy, not this year. Last year was already a great challenge for us, but this year is going to be very challenging for sure.

(00)’: Thank you for sparing your time for us and we wish you and Proton all the best for this year’s MSS season.

James: Thank you and you’re welcome.

Since the Proton Suprima S R3 is not that much of a difference from the existing Preve R3, prepping the race car for the upcoming MSS season should not be a major challenge for Proton. How will it fare against the other competitors in this year’s season? We will just have to find out when the 2014 MSS Round 1 blazes through Sepang this coming 28 – 30 March!