We all face our own battles, but do you ever wonder what it’s like to go up against something that is beyond human control? Time is a component that is challenged every day by all living objects and cannot be controlled, stopped, or harnessed. It is a fundamental structure of the universe, with each unit of measurement expressed in seconds, minutes, and hours. In motorsports, it can be said that technology challenges time, where man would build the fastest mechanical vehicle in terms of velocity or course lap time. The best paradigm that exemplifies this theory is the time-attack or Super Lap.
This trend was first given birth by a Japanese automotive media company who held a time trial event for the nation’s quickest cars, initially held at the renowned Tsukuba Circuit. As technology progressed and more brilliant tuners created physics-defying machines, it became a battle against the clock where the fastest vehicle achieved the undisputed ultimate bragging right in the industry.
As the time-attack phenomenon progressed, some of the fastest lap times were acquired by a certain homologated WRC production car, which had all the qualities that enabled the vehicle to be nimble, lightweight, and powerful. The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO equipped with the legendary 4G63 powerplant proved to be in the top ranks of the time-attack circuit. We discovered a machine quietly sitting in the shadows of the other overexposed time-attack EVOs—a gorgeous widebodied CP9A referred to as “Asso”.
The name of the vehicle owner still remains much of a mystery; however, people refer both to him and the machine as “Asso”. In addition, the vehicle itself is alternately known as the Varis/MK Sport/Cyber EVO V. Other sponsors include such big names as Unlimited Works, Rays, Pivot, Ganador, and Lubrolene. Upon research, it turns out that the owner’s identity is related to a corporation named Asso—the car’s first wheel and tire sponsor. The owner’s aspirations started when racing an EVO II at the Fuji International Speedway (FISCO), but after several engine breakdowns a new platform was needed in its place. At the time, the fastest time-attack machine was a BNR32, but an EVO V was a more appropriate choice for Asso, considering his underdog state of mind. Varis soon hopped in as an aero kit sponsor to make the body more wind efficient, also referred to in aerodynamics terminology as altering the coefficient of drag. Not that it mattered anymore, since Asso was being equipped with an aftermarket body kit. (It’s fair to mention that the EVO V was the first out of all the generations to receive a wider stance from the factory.) The fifth-gen Lancer EVO was especially unique since it was still designed to meet Group A standards, but did require to comply with the homologation rule. Therefore, Mitsubishi had more lenience in engineering this vehicle with many improvements adopted from the previous generations.
The name of the vehicle owner still remains much of a mystery; however, people refer both to him and the machine as “Asso”.
The heart of the Asso EVO V contains a mixture of the best engine components that Japan has to offer, nothing shy of the highest industry standards. A Jun 2.2L stroker kit provides an increased torque output with its impenetrable forged materials in the bottom end. The head received a full porting job as well as modifications to the combustion chamber, all sandwiching a Tomei 1.2mm head gasket calculated for the intended compression ratio. The remainder of the assembly had been topped off with a set of high-lift Jun 272-degree camshafts, MK Sport–strengthened valvesprings, and HKS cam sprockets. The Cyber EVO custom surge tank combined with a large diameter throttle body indicates that getting huge amounts of air into the cylinders is definitely not an issue. A sufficient and not too hysterical HKS GT3240 turbocharger was upgraded from its previous TD06-25G setup, dumped with an HKS external wastegate. Dual Sard 235-lph fuel pumps push the high octane into the Power Enterprise 1,000cc/min injectors, all being managed by the Cyber EVO–tuned HKS V-Pro D Jetro stand-alone ECU.
In the past, when aerodynamic tuning was still a beginning concept for tuners, the first Varis kit that the Asso EVO V received was a kit created mainly to enhance exterior styling. Everything on Asso that needed to be modified was done, and the only aspect left to consider was aerodynamics. At that point, Varis put first priority on engineering aero kits that efficiently brought downforce to the necessary areas of the machine that also deadened wind noise by the use of proper air passages. According to Varis, their Extremor CP9A Asso version kit was created exclusively for the body structure of the EVO V to perform at its peak at any given situation. To increase cornering velocity, the stance was widened 30mm on each side to cater 17x10 +15mm wheels. All components were constructed of either FRP or carbon fiber, including the rooftop, trunk, and canards to shave extra pounds off the car. The vented hood is not only more lightweight, but it also aided in providing a hot air escape. The left and right front bumper ducts were designed to direct fresh air to the oil cooler and the air filter. Varis succeeded in minimizing understeer by equipping the vehicle with a front end diffuser, available in full or half carbon fiber. A gurney flap and an under-board were incorporated onto the side skirts, where it properly dictates the direction of the passing air. The middle area of the rear bumper comes with a central diffuser, and the rear side vortex generators were designed to apply additional downforce to the machine. In order to salvage a sufficient top speed, a somewhat reserved 1,480mm-wide GT wing was installed on the trunk. The owner’s first impression after driving the vehicle was that the braking characteristics were vastly stabilized and that the EVO operated smoother than before with less wind noise.
The Apex N1 damper and Bestex 19kg front and rear springs were meticulously tested and tuned by the famed gymkhana driver, Katsuya Morita of MK Sport. Cyber EVO legend and tuner Masamichi Takizawa, who set up practically the entire vehicle, was consulted on other suspension components. A couple of exclusive Cyber EVO suspension products were equipped onto the EVO V, such as the special roll center adjuster, tie-rod ends, and pillow-ball EVO VII rear arms. HKS Kansai front and rear sway bars, and an Unlimited Works rear control rod were chosen from the tuner’s recommendations. Various chassis reinforcement products from Cusco, as well as their 12-point rollcage were also fitted.
On the drivetrain department, a Cyber EVO custom driveshaft links two types of transmissions that are used for each unique racetrack. An EVO VII GSR transmission was most suited in terms of gearing for Fuji, and an alternate close gear ratio transmission was appointed for Tsukuba. A twin-plate Ogura Racing clutch clamps the front all-wheel-drive torque to the Cusco Type RS LSD equipped in the front, and a stock LSD system on the rear.
Along with Asso’s owner, some may argue that the CP9A was the best generation out of the entire EVO descent.
The interior is lined up with Pivot gauges, including oil temp, oil pressure, fuel pressure, water temp, boost, tachometer, speedometer, and four-intake air temperature gauges. A Varis original full carbon-fiber bucket seat is strapped with a Simpson five-point racing harness to keep the driver in the rightful place. The engine, transmission, transfer case, differential, and brake fluid were all taken care of by a generous sponsorship. A full line of Lubrolene products keep Asso in a well-lubricated condition to maintain the maximum performance from all moving parts of the machine.
Along with Asso’s owner, some may argue that the CP9A was the best generation out of the entire EVO descent. With strong backing from its well-grounded sponsors, Asso will surely accomplish its target lap times in the near future. Just make sure to keep an eye on it, since it might be patiently lurking in the shadows of other hyped-up EVOs.
Behind the Build
Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan
Building race cars
11 years and counting
Time-attack, circuit racing
Building a well-balanced track machine
1998 Lancer EVO V RS (CP9A)
Output: 600+ whp
Engine EVO IX cylinder head; MK Sport reinforced valvespring; Unlimited Works port and polish, big-bore throttle body, custom turbo pipes, 100mm carbon intake pipe; Tomei 2.2L kit, 1.2mm head gasket; Cyber EVO (HKS V-PRO) D Jetro, surge tank; HKS GT3240 turbo, exhaust manifold, cam sprockets, EVC 5 boost controller; Sard dual fuel pump (235 lph); East Cloud 90mm exhaust; Power Enterprise 1,000cc/min injectors; Jun 272 high-profile camshafts; TR’s three-row aluminum radiator; Trust intercooler, blow-off valve; HPI oil cooler
Drivetrain/Suspension HKS dog clutch H pattern transmission; A’pexi N1 damper (MK Sport and Cyber EVO settings); Beth-Tex 16kg/16kg spring rates; Ogura ORC559 twin-plate clutch; Cusco MZ-type RS LSD; Cyber EVO SPL roll center adjusters, tie-rod ends, SPL EVO VII pillow-ball control arms; APP brake lines; Unlimited Works rear toe control rods; HKS Kansai stabilizer; Marche 50mm spacers
Brakes Brembo calipers; IDI D-0X racing pads; RDD rotors
Exterior Varis Estremor CP9A Asso version Kevlar front bumper, cooling bonnet, carbon under diffuser V.2, rear diffuser, carbon Voltex generator, carbon oil cooler guide, carbon air cleaner guide, carbon trunk, carbon hood, carbon GT Wing 1,600mm, carbon canards, SPL superwide front fenders, superwide rear over-fenders, side diffusers; acrylic windows; Cosmos FRP front doors; Marche FRP rear doors; Ganador mirrors
Interior Varis carbon dashboard, carbon bucket seat, shift knob; DL1 data logger; Karoshe 12-point rollcage; Pivot boost gauge, tach, speed meter; Nardi Classic steering wheel; Simpson five-point harness