TMR Australia, with technical support from Mitsubishi Motors Australia (MMAL), will race the first plug-in four-wheel drive ever officially entered in an Australian motorsport event – Western Australia’s final Australasian Safari, running from 19 to 27 September.

TMR Australia’s race-prepared Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) and supporting Mitsubishi Triton will race on wheels shod exclusively with Toyo’s M55 tyre.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV. Only minor durability and safety modifications have been made to the car to meet FIA specifications.

The Australasian Safari covers 2,500 kilometres of the outback’s most unforgiving surfaces including sand, desert tracks, salt plains and dry river beds.

A Toyo severe service tyre used by the mining sector has been called up to reinforce Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia (TMR Australia) in a unique and frontier-forging assault on the 2014 Australasian Safari.

The robust M55 is sought after by off-roading enthusiasts and used for industrial applications due to its durability and puncture resistance.

Extensive testing by TMR Australia and technical consultation with Toyo identified the M55 as the superior choice for TMR Australia’s Australasian Safari race program.

Toyo Tires Australia technical advisor Steve Burke explained that the M55 meets TMR’s requirement for a tyre with exceptional puncture resistance.

“The M55 is Toyo’s ‘severe service’ all-terrain tyre,” Mr Burke said. “The tyre’s tread compound and construction is designed for harsh conditions both on and off-road – especially in rocky conditions, where tread damage from sharp rocks is common.

“The tyre is a proven product in the mining industry, where the M55’s exceptional resistance to punctures is well known.”

The PHEV will be driven by Steve Glenney and co-driver Bernie Webb and will compete in a production category designed specifically for electric and hybrid vehicles – P1.6. The Mitsubishi Triton will be driven by Pete Nunn and co-driver Damien Roach.

TMR Australia Outlander PHEV Safari team principal Alan Heaphy said that the Australasian Safari is an event that requires endurance and performance from every element of a car, not least the tyres.

“We are focused on proving the Outlander PHEV’s durability in genuine off-road conditions, and the Toyo M55 is the ideal tyre for the task,” he said.

“The PHEV showcases the latest Mitsubishi hybrid and four-wheel drive technology, making it an ideal platform for an entry in the Australasian Safari. We can’t afford a puncture, and the Toyos give us the peace of mind to push harder.

“We talk about racing in tough conditions, but when you boil it down the tyres are the part of the car taking the hardest beating. With the M55, it looks like we have found a tyre that turns the tables on any would-be obstacles,” Mr Heaphy said.