WRC 1981-1987

WRC 1981-1987

1981 – 1986 World Rally Championship

As of 1977, although MITSUBISHI MOTORS suspended their official rally activities and were working on the development of exhaust gas purification technology, moves were being made to resume their rally activities. Their rally car prototype was unveiled in November 1979 at the Tokyo Motor Show. It was the LANCER EX2000 TURBO. Developed in compliance with Group 4 regulations, the 4G63 engine featured an electronically controlled fuel injection and delivered 250PS for its debut in 1981.
In 1981, MITSUBISHI MOTORS sent two LANCER EX2000 TURBOs to the Acropolis (Greece) in June under the banner of Team RALLIART, making their return to the international rally scene after three and a half years. For that year, their best result was the ninth place they earned in the final RAC (UK). In the face of this performance, MITSUBISHI MOTORS decided to pause their involvement in the WRC during the first half of 1982, and instead to restructure their program and to focus on improving the car. Development and production in Austria were transferred back to Japan, and MITSUBISHI MOTORS engineers took an active part in the process. As a result of their development efforts, the car finished third overall at the 1000 Lakes Rally (Finland) in August, their first rally in a while. However, the gap between the Group 4 LANCER EX2000 TURBO that finished third and the 4WD Turbo Audi Quattro that finished first and second was more than four minutes. The development team realized that it was technically difficult to make their 2WD rally car more competitive and determined that they needed a new 4WD rally car. When the new Group N, Group A and Group B regulations were introduced in 1983, the LANCERs participated in two rallies, the 1000 Lakes Rally and the RAC, but mechanical issues forced them into retirement in both rallies. Thus, the Group 4 LANCER EX2000 TURBO works car left the stage.
Meanwhile, the research department located at the Passenger Car Technology Center in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, was designing the STARION 4WD rally car in accordance with Group B regulations building on its previous experience. MITSUBISHI MOTORS went onto unveil its prototype at the Tokyo Motor Show in November 1983. Its first actual race was at the Mille Pistes Rally (France) in August 1984. After managing to overcome a suspension problem, the car won its class. It also competed in the RAC, and, through that testing stage, the STARION 4WD reached its target level. In 1985, when the company was building standard production cars in order to obtain Group B certification, a new center differential system was developed for the rally car. They participated in the S class of Rally Malaysia, but were forced to retire due to engine overheating. Following Lancia's accident during the fifth WRC round, the Tour de Corse (France), in May 1986, Group B cars were banned at the end of the year. As a consequence, MITSUBISHI MOTORS' plan to enter the WRC with their first 4WD rally car, the STARION 4WD Turbo, was definitely scrapped. Although the STARION 4WD Turbo could not be entered in the WRC, it has undoubtedly played a key role in MITSUBISHI MOTORS's later development of 4WD turbo cars. In 1986 and 1987, the STARION 4WD Turbo participated twice in the Hong Kong-Beijing Rally, in which prototype vehicles were allowed to participate, and in 1986, it finished second overall, which was the best result for that car.


1982 1000 Lakes Rally 3rd LANCER EX200 TURBO P. Airikkala
1987 Himalayan Rally Overall victory(Not WRC title) STARION TURBO K. Shinozuka



Overall length 4,225 mm
Overall width 1,620 mm
Engine model 4G63 4-cylinder SOHC turbo
Displacement 1,997 cc
Maximum output 280 ps
Maximum torque 33.7 kg-m


Overall length 4,170 mm
Overall width 1,730 mm
Engine model 4G63 4-cylinder SOHC turbo
Displacement 2,140 cc
Maximum output 350 ps
Maximum torque 35 kg-m


Overall length 4,400 mm
Overall width 1,685 mm
Engine model 4G63 4-cylinder SOHC turbo
Displacement 1,997.5 cc
Maximum output 265 ps
Maximum torque 38 kg-m