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Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX - Less Is More

Evasive Motorsports Shows Us That It Takes More Than A Fast Engine To Become One Of The Fastest Racecars On The Time Attack Circuit

Jonathan Wong
Oct 25, 2007
Photographer: Wesley Allison
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One hundred and ten degrees: it's an over-whelming amount of dry and very intense heat that no soul should ever have to endure-but hey, that's Willow Springs for you. There's virtually no shade to escape under and even after the sun drops, temps still read well into the 90s. The Evasive Evo looks more at home in this type of environment, though, on a race track, far from the city where it belongs. The heat is but a mere afterthought.

As a contender in the Limited class, Evasive (headed by Mike Chang and Tony Kwan) is doing something quite remarkable; they're a smaller operation that's doing big things: going fast without a budget dedicated strictly towards power. What's their secret? Maintaining a well-balanced chassis. As Mike explains, "What makes this car a little bit more special is that we're still running a stock motor and it's proven to be pretty competitive to the other cars in our class that are running 500-600hp engines. We concentrate on the overall balance of the car; aerodynamics and suspension without having to produce high horsepower out of our engine."

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To do this, Evasive went a minimal route, sticking to premium grade Japanese bolt-ons and internals to produce a mild 429 horses. "We're an online retailer, not a tuning shop," says Mike, adding, "We can't say that we're tuners of a high caliber, but we do want to show that Japanese parts work great for a Time Attack car. All the cars here are built with American made parts, but since we cater to the JDM market, we want to stay true to the JDM theme. American companies tend to look down on the JDM parts by saying, 'Oh, it's overpriced and they don't work.' Our parts are specialized bolt-ons that you can build a fast car with." Although the bottom end retains its stock form, the cylinder has some work done to it with a set of Cosworth camshafts and a fortified valvetrain consisting of JUN titanium retainers and valve springs to accommodate the lift of the beefier camshafts. The factory turbo was upgraded to HKS status with a GT3037 ball-bearing unit with other turbo goods from HKS, such as a Type-R blow-off valve, wastegate and GT intercooler. A much needed Voltex oil cooler is here as well, keeping oil temps low as the Evo sees a heavy amount of track time. SP Engineering handled the responsibility of tuning the HKS V-Pro and did a good job of maximizing its power output with such few parts.

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So why shift the focus to suspension and aero over power? Evasive credits Garage HRS, a Japanese tuning shop that suggested Mike and Tony step out of the boundaries of normality. "We get most of our inspiration from Hirayama-san [of Garage HRS]," says Mike, "Last year, we visited his shop while we were there for a Time Attack event and learned a lot about how he tunes cars, although their cars are much more balls out. We learned to look at things that maybe most American tuners don't notice, like aero for example; that's a really big thing. There's a bigger picture to look at than just big horsepower. Having the right aerodynamics makes a huge difference. Just by changing the angle on the wing a couple degrees or adding splitters/canards affects the way the car performs; you can tune these things just like you would an engine and can see results."

With Hirayama-san's suggestions, Evasive tuned the suspension with Tein SRC coilovers that use 14kg/mm Swift springs, then bolted-on a set of Swift anti-sway bars to minimize body roll. Also added were a Carbing front strut bar, an EM Racing rear cross bar and for even more rigidity, J Speed fender/under bracing with a Carbign Craft 4-point under brace. Along with these modifications and feedback from their driver, Rob Walker (see sidebar), adjustments were also made to the aerodynamics of the Evo. The front bumper is a combination of all sorts, the bulk of it being a C-West front bumper that has been outfitted with APR canards and a Kel's Garage front carbon splitter. The rear quarter panels have HRS/Voltex overfenders, while the rear trunk has a Voltex wing that's set on a Kel's Garage Type 5 bracket, also tuned for optimum angle. One of Evasive's biggest sponsors is Toyo and with their latest release, a DOT-legal R compound tire, the R888, Evasive is not only using them successfully in competition, but is also paying homage with a full body graphic scheme that was crafted and applied by Promax. The tires are mounted to Volk's latest wheel, the RE30 in size 18x10.5 and in a matte black finish.

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Evasive has only been competing with this Evo for a short time, since January of this year if you can believe it, and unlike most of the teams in their category, they're not as seasoned-but they're getting there. "Since we lack that experience, we've been pushing ourselves to spend as much time as possible to learn about our car," Mike says. What's next for the Evo? More power? Who knows. Mike finishes with, "What we really want to do is explore the limits of the car. Right now we're limited by what we have, especially on tracks that have long straights. After we get the car to go as fast as it can with what it has, we'll eventually move up to the Unlimited class with a built motor. I don't think we've maxed the car out yet."

By Jonathan Wong
486 Articles

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