Like an Aussie drag racing Ricky Bobby, Nick Zervos just wanted to go fast. Not just any kind of fast though-he was determined to build the world's fastest Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
This is no mean feat, especially for a full-bodied car going up against semi tube-framed machines that were already knocking on the door of the seven-second mark. But Nick doesn't back down easily, and when his dedicated crew helped put the EVO II over the line at Willowbank Raceway in Sydney, Australia last month in a stunning 7.943 seconds, it proved that it's possible to go fast without spending stupid money. Just like Ricky Bobby, it seems the Castrol Edge-backed APC team also wake up every morning and piss excellence.
Nick had spent a lot of hours on fellow Aussie EVO head Rob Barac's yellow gen-three Lancer and wanted to push the boundaries of the knowledge that they had already picked up.
"It interested me because I was amazed with the reliability and the power of the EVO," he says. "I knew I could crack over 1,000 hp with a little extra work, so Rob gave me a shell that he had laying around, and got me started. "
Again, not an easy task-hitting a grand on the dyno from a four-cylinder is a big job requiring a whole lot more than just a fancy fuel system and an unfeasibly large turbocharger.
The original plan was to get the 4G63 angry enough to lay down some low nine-second passes, but when some New Zealanders dipped into the eights with big-money, semi tube-framed set-ups, Nick changed his game plan. But by setting his sights even higher, many doubted that a near full-bodied beast was capable of running faster than the Kiwi cars-especially considering the EVO's tendency to spit out drivetrains.
Nick admits that trying to get the driveline to survive a high-velocity quarter mile was the biggest challenge in the project-closely followed by getting a good run down using an H-pattern gearbox.
Starting at the business end, Nick fabricated a lot of the engine components at his Advanced Performance Centre. The methanol-breathing 4G63 still uses the factory oil pump and wet sump, but that's where the Mitsu bits stop. A modified Eagle 4340 crankshaft mates to Crower I-beam conrods and custom-specification JE pistons with Pro Series pins. Up top, APC DR camshafts and 2G DR heads use 1mm-oversized valves on both sides, with APC's own valve springs and titanium buckets.
A chilled-out approach to induction has proven extremely effective-an ARE air-to-liquid intercooler knocks the intake charge back even further, by drawing from an iced water tank that's fitted in the cabin where the passenger seat in less-motivated EVOs would normally go. Nick chose a mighty Garrett GT42R turbo, mated to an HKS external wastegate, to feed boost into the equation, with a 2.5-inch pipe running directly off the gate and a massive four-inch dump pipe straight off the exhaust side of the hairdryer.
Getting enough fuel into this set-up was the next challenge, with a fat APC purpose-built plenum housing extra injector bosses-meaning there's now room for twelve (count 'em!) 1,680 cc Bosch injectors, fed through a bunch of Magna fuel filters by a Kynsler mechanical fuel pump, from an ARE 12-liter fuel cell. The spark comes from a Motec CDI-4 through four direct-fire Bosch T-coils, with a top-shelf version of Motec's awesome M880 ECU calling the shots.
This single-minded selection of power parts added up to a 915 horsepower dyno run, with the Garrett blowing 34 psi of boost with no nitrous.
Putting this sort of grunt to the ground is easier said than done when using out-of-the-box driveline components, and there's been probably been enough scrap metal pulled out of the Mitsu to melt down and build a whole new one.
This record-smashing machine uses a Frankenstein drive train-a Mitsubishi gearbox with a PPG aftermarket gear set. The transfer case and yoke both come from four-cylinder AWD record holders Shep Racing. A custom twin-plate clutch and drag-spec flywheel, a custom two-piece driveshaft, plus billet front axles with custom hub assemblies to fit more splines round out the details. To see just how much punishment these take, check out the picture of Nick's timesheet and the now-famous seven-second shaft. Even after making up custom hub assemblies to fit more splines, the splines on the thrashed shaft are radically twisted, bearing the brunt of the launch velocity. The full-time four-wheel-drive set-up and the likelihood of some components not hanging on for the whole ride means Nick doesn't bother with pre-run burnouts, yet still managed an amazing 1.185-second 60-foot time to go with his record ET.
Toyota's parts bin was pillaged for the rear axles and diff-which combines a Hilux (Tacoma) housing with a Romac spool and a custom ring and pinion set that matches the factory front diff's ratios.
In the never-ending quest for back-end stickiness, Nick chopped the floorpan out from behind the driver's seat to accommodate a four-link rear with a steel scatter shield and two driveshaft loops. Strange Racing double adjustable rear coilovers with 280-pound Eibach springs are fitted at the rear, with custom dampers, and King Springs are used at the front with Noltec camber plates. The whole car sits 15mm higher than the factory EVO on top of Weld Racing rims.
Nick says that the AWD system was the biggest drama during the build: "We made the horsepower years ago; the challenge was to get the car down the quarter without breaking. It was extremely difficult, and at times I wondered why I didn't build a rear-wheel-drive car."
Despite the difficulties (and after admitting that next time he'd probably start with a car that has the engine facing the right way and a 9-inch diff) Nick says the process was a great experience and he wouldn't change any of it.
"It's now greatly rewarding after persisting with it."
Ben Bray from Team Bray Racing provided the final motivation to get the record, by telling Nick that he drove like a girl. "Sevens are not possible without being told you're a girl," he says.
And plans for the future of APC's lightning-fast Evo? "Go faster, maybe add NOS to the current engine combination and then replace the engine with a new combination I've been working on over the last couple of years," says Nick. "Changes to the chassis will also be required for safety reasons."
Behind The Build
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Owner Of Advanced Performance Centre (APC)
Building Fast Cars
"Home Of the world's quickest evo!"
'94 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 2
Output 915 AWHP @ 34 PSI
Engine APC 4G63 custom methanol Race engine: ARP harmonic balancer; HKS cam gears; Gates Racing timing belt; Eagle 4340 crankshaft, reworked by APC; Crower I-beam rods; Custom JE pistons with Pro Series pins; Sealed Power piston rings; APC DR spec camshafts, 4G63 EVO/2G DR Series heads, valve springs, titanium retainers, 1mm oversized valves, turbo beanie, intake manifold with extra injector bosses, 87 mm throttle body, oil catch tank, water overflow tank, ARE liquid-to-air intercooler w/ ice water tank mounted on passenger floor, radiator, 12-liter fuel cell; Garrett GT42R turbo; HKS waste gate; TiAL blow off valve; CES turbo exhaust manifold; Motec M880, CDI-4; Bosch direct-fire T-coils (4), 1680 cc injectors (12); Kynsler mechanical fuel pump, FPR; Speed Flow hoses and fittings; custom four-inch downpipe, 2.5-inch wategate dump pipe.
Drivetrain Mitsubishi gearbox; PPG gear set with modified casing and differentials; Shep Racing transfer case and yoke; custom twin-plate clutch, flywheel two-pice driveshaft, ring and pinion; APC billet front axles; Toyota Hilux rear axles, diff housing; Romac spool
Suspension Custom front coilovers with King Sport springs; Strange rear coilovers with 280-pound Eibach springs; Superpro bushes; polished alloy strut brace; Noltec camber plates; manual steering rack conversion; four-link rear end with A-arm; custom steel bell housing scatter shield and driveshaft loops
Wheels/Tires Weld Racing 15x8 wheel (front and rear); Hoosier and Mickey Thompson slicks (front and rear)
Brakes rsion, Rear: Project Mu brake pads; Deist parachute and lever
Exterior Fibreglass front clip; Lexan windows; custom adjustable rear wing, black paint; Airbrushed front end
Interior Momo steering wheel; RCI plastic seat, five-point harness; Haltech dash display wired to Motec M880; E-boost II boost pressure gauge; SL Fabrications six-point roll cage; RCI window net; mil-spec wiring
Gratitude Castrol Edge (big thanks, heaps of help there); Richard at ARE (intercooler, tanks, radiator); Trevor at CES (turbo manifold and exhaust); Scott at SL Race Fabrications (chassis); Rob Barac (good mate, always kicks me in the ass to get the car ready on time and actually helps too!); APC employees (for helping out after hours); Drag Evo crew (Trent, Eddie, Andrew and Possum for giving up their time); Ben at Team Bray Racing (for helping tune the chassis to the track); Wife and kids for support and putting up with late nights working on the car).