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Magic Touch - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX

Puerto Rico's continuous tuning philosophy casts a spell over this wicked fast Evo IX

Evan Griffey
Oct 2, 2007 SHARE
0710_turp_35_z+mitsubishi_lancer_evolution_9+side_view Photo 1/7   |   Magic Touch - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX

Puerto Rico has been a hotbed of import performance for decades. Turbo first shined its spotlight on the island in the mid-'90s and brought the passion and innovation of the Puerto Rican enthusiast to America in a series of feature articles under the "Puerto Rico Connection" banner and various other race coverage stories.

Back in the day the island, which is roughly the size of Connecticut, featured a number of tube chassis import drag racers and a lot of old-school stuff. The Puerto Ricans seemed to be able to go faster with less, coaxing impressive times out of street/strip warriors running carbureted 13Bs and Toyota 3TCs. This was due to extensive track testing made possible by the fact that the local dragstrips were open every day and the meticulous nature of the island's enthusiasts who all seemed to have that magic touch.

0710_turp_26_z+mitsubishi_lancer_evolution_9+engine Photo 2/7   |   Carlos Sanchez of Creative Performance crafted a trick turbo manifold that faces the inlet of the turbo toward the front of the car. the turbo is a Garrett GT35-R with a 58-trim compressor wheel spec'd by Speedtek and brought to life by Precision Turbo and Engine.

Today their street/strip warriors are high-tech sleds, the very same cars that dominate the American tuning landscape. The unchanged portion of the equation is the magic touch that Puerto Rico seems to have when it comes to turbos. The result of this enticing power calculation is embodied in Johnny Fargas' wild Mitsubishi EVO IX - big power, edgy looks and grocery-getter reliability.

In preparation for the onslaught of some serious boost, the EVO's 4G63 was fortified with hardcore internals. With the talented people at Colo Performance doing the honors, the block was fitted with Wiseco slugs and Carrillo rods. Then Fargas, owner and operator of popular car performance website carrito.net, called on Carlos Sanchez of Creative Performance to craft a trick turbo manifold. The one-off masterpiece is Fargas' favorite mod on this exquisite EVO and who can blame him. The manifold faces the inlet of the turbo toward the front of the car and since the radiator has been moved off-center the menacing compressor wheel can be seen through the grille. The turbo is custom spec'd by Speedtek, a popular Puerto Rican boosting shop. Based on a Garrett GT35-R with a 58-trim compressor wheel, the hard-hitting unit was built by Precision Turbo & Engine. The rest of the turbo system consists of Creative Performance piping that's home to a TiAL Sports blow-off valve on the cold side and a TiAL Sports wastegate on the hot side. The wastegate dumps into a custom 3.5-inch exhaust system fabbed by Andy Muffler terminating into a Borla XR1 muffler. Fargas reported a bump in power after the 4G63 moved from Cosworth cams to 280/280 Buddy Club bumpsticks.

0710_turp_22_z+mitsubishi_lancer_evolution_9+interior Photo 3/7   |   Magic Touch - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX

Fueling the beast falls to twin Walbro in-tank pumps, Ultimate Racing 1,000cc injectors and an AMS fuel rail. Fuel flow and ignition timing are controlled via a Hydra Engine Management System. This stand-alone ECU features Auto-Tune programming that uses an optional oxygen sensor to calibrate its maps by air/fuel ratio. The Hydra system was initially tuned by Gadiel, famed tuner of the Big Valley STi (cover car Jan. '06). The ECU has since been under the care of Fargas and Team NASA. "I would have to say that the one-off turbo kit from Creative Performance and the Hydra EMS tuned by a group of friends called Team NASA (Nerds Applying Science to Automobiles) are keys to the success of this project," Fargas says. "One of my major accomplishments has been making 478 whp on 93-octane fuel. It took a lot of daily tuning and hardship to get the car to the power level it is right now. Kids, don't try this at home!"

0710_turp_33_z+mitsubishi_lancer_evolution_9+upper_mount Photo 4/7   |   Magic Touch - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX

Likewise, Fargas enjoys the Creative Performance turbo header and Hydra ECU. "I also like the radio, which was installed to replace the heavy OEM sound system with a better system that did not take as much space and weight," he says. "The Ny-Trex nitrous system is another uncommon part, it uses a different kind of setup for the solenoids with fewer parts and is easier to install."

Tuning has been an ongoing passion with separate mapping for 93-octane pump gas and VP C16 racing fuel. After our photo shoot the Mitsubishi had an appointment at Sporty Dyno to tune the new cams. An all-night session netted some impressive all-turbo numbers; 478 whp on pedestrian 93-octane gasoline and 634 whp on race-ready 117-octane C16. The engine realized peak gains ranging from 10 to 27 whp, but the real impact of the tuning was lower in the powerband. "The car feels really, really strong ... like it's on nitrous," Fargas says. "On the 93-octane map the difference is huge. We cleaned up the midrange on the dyno, then ran it down the street using the auto compensation feature to check out the tune. I met up with a friend who had an 11.8-second car. I hung to his bumper like I was on a tow strap, pulled to the side and left him. By morning we had a lot better car than we had first driven onto the dyno."

0710_turp_01_z+mitsubishi_lancer_evolution_9+left_front_view Photo 5/7   |   Magic Touch - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX

Footwork consists of Tein Flex coilovers augmented with a Cusco rear anti-sway bar and Cusco front crossbar. Cusco's famous strut tower bars are on call under the hood and in the trunk, further tying together the chassis' flex points. The all-important contact patch is provided by 265-series Bridgestone S203 rubber wrapped around 18x9 Volk Racing TE37s.

The cockpit beacons with a host of well-tailored mods. Sparco is well represented with a pair of its Fighter bucket seats and one of its distinctive steering wheels. Gauge work consists of GReddy boost and EGT meters with memory function. The rest of the cabin is set off with an aftermarket Mitsubishi shift knob, brake lever and gauge cluster as well as painted trim pieces.

0710_turp_20_z+mitsubishi_lancer_evolution_9+seats Photo 6/7   |   Magic Touch - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX

This EVO ain't no sleeper. The body flexes a full C-West body kit, which includes side skirts, rear bumper and a hard-hitting front bumper with a huge intercooler inlet in the middle that Fargas filled to the hilt with a Precision Turbo FMIC. Fargas is also running trick APR GT3 side mirrors, an APR GTR500 rear wing, Perrin short antenna and a VIS carbon-fiber trunk lid. The look is decidedly aggressive and with 634 ready to pounce, it's no empty promise.

0710_turp_09_z+mitsubishi_lancer_evolution_9+right_rear_view Photo 7/7   |   Magic Touch - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX

Fargas, looking into his crystal ball, says, "I want to run nine seconds or low 10s, I really do not care about the extreme power but 700whp all-boost should be an achievable goal. I want to change the look a bit. I want the car to have the urban look, wingless, 17x9.5 Buddy Clubs, Buddy Club Racing dampers, a more streetable Buddy Club Stage III exhaust, Ralliart Aero Mirrors and a bigger compressor." Fargas has a GT40 waiting in the wings but with the island's race and show season upon him he plans to enjoy the car and work this combo for a while. He says he still has to work on tuning the nitrous system.

Looking into our crystal ball we see the allure of the GT40 far too much for Fargas to resist and, with that magic touch in full effect, we predict a performance update of this car appearing in a future issue.

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By Evan Griffey
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