"The Evo X was never in the cards," Ravi Dolwani, director of high-performance cooling firm CSF, began. "Not even in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would own an Evo X, let alone build one to this caliber. I've been a fan of Evos for a long time but really never had the desire to own one." It took a guy who never thought about putting together a 10th-generation Mitsubishi Evo to build one to the degree many of us could only dream about. A degree of measure that begins with an ex-Pirelli World Challenge race car and culminates in a 680-whp rolling billboard for CSF and a handful of industry partners Dolwani holds in the highest regard. "I needed to work with people I could trust to get the car done in time," he says about the Evo's 2017 SEMA deadline. "Fortunately, these companies are also regarded as the best in the business."
But you're still wondering about all of that ex-Pirelli World Challenge race car business, and how Dolwani—whose realm of expertise has got more to do with things from Stuttgart and less so with anything of World Rally Car heritage—wound up with a car he knew nothing about sold by a European car tuning firm that wanted it gone about as quickly as you'd think a Euro tuner would.
"I was at GMG dropping my Porsche 996 off for its yearly maintenance," Dolwani says, "[when] I saw this damaged Evo X roller sitting on top of the rack. Not quite sure why a company like GMG, which specializes in things like McLarens and R8s, had a carcass of a Mitsubishi taking up space. But it was soon revealed the company partnered with one of its customers, preparing the chassis for the Pirelli World Challenge before the client lost interest and moved on to another platform. For three years it sat before Dolwani took notice and struck a deal with GMG to bring the would-be race car home. Its initial purpose was to debut at SEMA, representing CSF's cooling capabilities as well other companies Dolwani thinks are the best in the business.
Dolwani's definition of best in the business included paint and body experts like LTMW, which fitted the Evo with its custom-molded Streetfighter LA aero, for instance, and MotoIQ Garage, which is responsible for assembling the car and setting it up for the track. "I think it's been a very rewarding experience for everyone," Dolwani says regarding the build-up and tasks he called on each of his partners to take on. "We've strengthened our friendships over the build."
Any good project goes beyond just the people associated with it, though. Especially where race cars are concerned, the proper parts are just as critical, like a GTX turbo from Garrett that helps nudge that 4G63 toward the 700-whp mark, an engine of which Dolwani knew nothing about before taking on the X. "I had relatively zero experience working on Mitsubishis before I bought the car," he says, before going on to add that that's likely because he had zero interest in ever owning one.
The right parts and the right people alone seldom guarantee success. "This build was, by far, the most challenging thing I've ever done in my life, both professionally and on a personal level," Dolwani says. "[It] almost broke me down."
Backordered parts and a clearance crisis would have you down, too, but for Dolwani, those were the least of his worries. For example, you might think a 25-point World Challenge rollcage is the business, but for ASC Speedmetal, all it meant was room between it and the chassis for ASC's handmade aluminum paneling was next to nothing. And if configuring a dry-sump oiling system wasn't difficult enough, the Petersen system Dolwani had on deck was meant for tube-frame chassis with room to spare. According to Dolwani, the people at Rywire, who were responsible not just for the car's electrical system but for its plumbing, too, spent nearly a week getting the whole thing to work. One of the biggest challenges, though, if you ask Dolwani, was the project's greatest blessing. "There were so many cooks in the kitchen," he says. "It was good in the sense that everyone [added] their expertise to the build, [but] bad in that everyone had their own idea of what had to be done, and delays with one person would snowball."
But none of that got in the way of the car's purpose, which according to Dolwani, was to showcase the sum of what the best companies from SoCal created—each focusing on its own expertise and being handed a blank canvas to showcase its work. That and make it to SEMA, compete in the event's Battle of the Builders competition, test the car at Motovicty's Never Lift event, and turn a show car into "a legitimate race car keyboard warriors couldn't argue about." Not too bad coming from a guy who never planned on building an Evo in the first place.