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Deus Ex Machina

The first time I came across this car was on a quiet weeknight. It was a regular yumcha gathering and meetup with friends at Rock Café in Sunway. Without any warning, the silence of the night was immediately broken with the roar of a violent, turbocharged 4-cylinder motor, and our attention was quickly diverted towards the darkness. A silhouette sped off into the alleys behind the shop lots, and made its way twice around the block. From initial observation, we could make out the distinctive shape of a classic Mini Cooper, and a reliable source directed us to Radical Chassis Solutions (RCS) just down the road. Curiosity outweighed our patience, and we hastily made our way over. What graced us at the shop was a truly impressive sight to behold. This car had to be featured!

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I present to you, the “Deus Mini Rallye”. The brainchild of Mr. P.Nandakumar; who engineered the car from scratch, and drove AND scored an overall victory in its second outing! Work on this car started in earnest in mid 2012, when Nanda teamed up with fellow enthusiasts, James Siew and Ali Shastry, to form Deus Automotive Sdn Bhd and create a monster masterpiece. The company was established with an objective to manufacture and market a new generation of competition kit cars that are affordable yet very competitive.

On the surface, the car resembles a Mini Cooper, but its similarities to the original cult classic ends there. Immediately you will notice the massively increased wheel track and wheel base, which indicates that this car is a custom-built competition creation from the ground up. The chassis is a complete tubular space frame setup with an integrated roll cage design, which allows Nanda to engineer his components to meet the optimum setup.

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Along with the chassis, the suspension, knuckles, wishbones, steering rack, brake pedal box and other components have all been designed specifically with 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD). The entire build was fabricated from FIA specified high strength tubular steel and manufactured locally. All designs were subjected to CAD Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to make sure that the safety standards are met.

The additional benefits of being a custom tube frame setup means that the chassis can also be designed for a range of engine and transmission options, such as normally aspirated FWD, normally aspirated 4WD, turbo 4WD, and even a mid-engine RWD version.

In its current form, the Deus runs on the engine and drive-train off a turbocharged Mitsubishi 1.8 liter 4G93T, with a 4WD gearbox. The engine and gearbox is currently in its stock form, which approximately produces 190 hp and 270 Nm of torque, and is more than sufficient for the car as it weighs just below 800 kg! Running bone stock also ensures reliability of the engine, and having fewer parts to breakdown is important in the grueling rally racing environment where anything can and will go wrong. As an option, customers can also choose to run a higher spec 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine with a 6-speed sequential 4WD gearbox.

Unlike regular road racing, rallying requires durable suspension components with strong dampening performance. The suspension for the Deus, which are specially designed MacPherson struts with custom 4 way adjustability, meet the requirements for rally racing, and are made locally by RCS. The need for a quick and responsive steering was developed by using a custom made power steering unit with a special close ratio rack & pinion gearing, and electric power assist.

Braking is an important component in motorsports, and you would normally find feature cars outfitted with enormous ventilated disc brakes and oversized calipers. However, with the Deus being extremely lightweight, the car only needed standard road-going 2-pot ventilated disc brakes for the front and rear, also “borrowed” off a Mitsubishi. A 4-pot caliper option may also be selected for the front brakes.

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Though the car had great success in only its second outing, it was definitely not a straight shot to victory. The demands of rally racing put a great deal of stress on both the vehicle and the team members, as they had to overcome various issues and component failures. Matthew Palmer, who has co-driven 2 rallies with Nanda now, can attest to this. However, with great perseverance, and the knowledge and experienced gained from the previous rally, the team managed to overcome all issues within a short period of time.

The Ministry for International Trade and Industry (MITI) has recently issued Deus Automotive a license to manufacture motorsport vehicles. This means that race and rally specials can now be manufactured here in Malaysia. With a fresh approach like this, the Malaysian motorsports scene could eventually become more exciting, accessible and marketable. As Deus Automotive currently prepares for the APRC Malaysian Rally Round in Johor this August, the team at Hypertune would like to wish them the best of luck.

Hyperfacts:
Car: Deus Mini Rallye 4WD Turbo

Engine: Mitsubishi 4G93 1.8 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged, optional 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged

Electronics: Stock

Transmission: Mitsubishi 5-speed manual 4WD, optional 6-speed sequential 4WD

Chassis & Handling: Custom steel tubular space frame & bonded composite, specially designed MacPherson struts front & rear by Radical Chassis Solutions (RCS), close ratio rack & pinion with electric power assist

Brakes: Adjustable pedal box, ventilated discs with 2-pot calipers front & rear, optional 4-pot calipers front

Wheels & Tyres: 17 inch street tyres, 15 inch gravel competition tyres, 17 inch tarmac competition tyres

Interior: Competition approved composite bucket seats, competition 5 point safety harness, custom composite dashboard & instrument panel

Exterior: Custom wide-body Mini Cooper replica

Photos: CK Fun