The South India Rally starts this weekend. The tuners, drivers and rally teams are currently testing their machines to the limit. And they’re leaving no room for error at the prestigious national championship. Team Mahindra Adventure’s Super XUV500 has been on the top ranks for quite a few years. But its replacement with something more modern and sporty was long overdue. It was confirmed few days ago that multiple ARRC and INRC champ Gaurav Gill has switched seats. And he will now pilot a turbo petrol Super XUV300. The car will run on JK Tyres. Incidentally, as soon as the XUV300 was launched, there were babbles about Gill and Ghosh having a new set of wheels for the upcoming rally season. But there was no show, as even at the Desert Storm they ran their big, brawny and quick Super XUV500 and failed miserably in the dunes.
Team Mahindra Adventure’s rally cars are being prepared by Arka Motorsport, headed by legendary tuner and racer, N Leelakrishnan. The team started building the rally-spec XUV300 for Team Mahindra Adventure in April. The plan was to build two cars that share the same chassis and components except what is under the hood. One car is powered by a 1.2-litre turbo petrol and the other with a 1.5-litre turbo diesel. It is confirmed that Gill’s car will run on tyres from JK Tyre while Ghosh will run MRFs , besides which both cars are identical.
Both cars featuring similar-spec roll-cages, racing bucket seats with eight-point harnesses and a fire extinguisher for safety. To improve their handling the stock suspension was swapped for adjustable Reigers on both ends. The brake rotors and calipers were stock but equipped with performance brake pads. They also have braided brake lines for reduced fade. The 1.2-litre turbo petrol motor is upgraded with a slightly bigger turbo and a reworked intake system and exhaust system, adding some respectable gains. The wiring harness is completely upgraded to handle the Haltech engine management system. The motor, as of today morning, was putting out 130 horses, but had already been bumped up to 155 horses by the end of the day.
The 1.5-litre diesel motor does not get many mechanical upgrades, but with a decent custom remap now makes 370Nm of torque to the front wheels. What’s surprising is that both the motors are mated to the stock six-speed H-pattern gearboxes with stock gear ratios. The rally cars still had the stock open differential, but these will be swapped for a limited-slip differential either during tomorrow’s testing or just before the rally. Both the rally-spec machines were tested on the back-roads of Coimbatore by Gaurav Gill and Amittrajit Ghosh. The cars were carefully being tuned, step-by-step, using inputs from drivers after every test lap.
Tomorrow is the last day of testing and final tuning, before the cars head to Chennai for the first round of the INRC, the maiden rally for the new Super XUV300.