Cruising around the vendor village at Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. in Cypress, Calif., during Mitsubishi Owners Day (MOD) West 2016, we came upon Roy Narvaez’s “Hulk” Lancer Evolution VIII and stopped dead in our tracks. We’d seen the car was involved in a pretty nasty wreck at the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) just a couple short weeks earlier, but had no idea Narvaez Racing was bringing the crashed time attack machine to MOD. It was a graphic reminder of how things can go terribly wrong at the worst possible moment.
The accident occurred in a practice session ahead of the main event, which Narvaez had already qualified for. On a fast part of the middle section of the 12.4-mile course, the car lost traction due to cold tires and a cold road surface and slammed hard into the side of the mountain. The EVO glanced off of the slope and then miraculously barrel rolled back onto its wheels, staying on the road it had just left. Narvaez posted a video of what the encounter looked like from inside the car’s cabin – not the best view, but you’ll get the idea.
Thankfully, Narvaez was able to walk away from the accident, but his car was pretty much toast, his bid for PPIHC glory done for another year. We’re guessing the car probably won’t make it out to Super Lap Battle x Global Time Attack this year in November, either, which is where we first saw the EVO in competitive action (you can see it in our 2015 coverage of the event, where it finished fourth in Unlimited AWD).
Turning a negative into a positive, Narvaez brought the car out to MOD and set it up for display, including many of the pieces that flew/broke off during the rollover (the bent Volk TE37s will break your heart). The crash does have us thinking, however, that Pikes Peak must have something against EVOs; as some of you might remember, in 2012 Jeremy Foley had a dramatic off at the event, his car rolling several times as it bounced down the mountainside, the heart-stopping event documented in Recaro’s short film “Devil’s Playground.” We’re relieved Roy came away from his wreck in relatively good shape, and he’s already looking ahead to going back, announcing the rebuild of the “Hulk” EVO is already in progress.