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 |   |  2009 Mitsubishi Lancer 2.4 GTS - The Other* Lancer
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2009 Mitsubishi Lancer 2.4 GTS - The Other* Lancer

Road Race Motorsports Has A Long History Of Building Fast Cars, And Its Newest Lancer Is Proof That You Don't Always Need AWD To Go Fast.

Nate Hassler
Mar 12, 2010

Chances are when you think about a FWD Mitsubishi Lancer, "high-performance" isn't the first thing that comes to mind. We don't blame you. Straight off the assembly line, the Lancer 2.4 GTS is pretty mundane. Nothing about it screams for attention, and (for most people who end up buying one) it gets the job done just fine as a safe, slow commuter car. However, all hope is not lost for FWD Lancer owners. With some careful tuning and a good plan of attack, you too can go EVO hunting in your GTS.

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Rob Tallini and his team over at Road Race Motorsports are passionate about modifying off-beat cars, and they have a long history of tuning up all sorts of vehicles to prove it. Having built SEMA cars for Mitsubishi over the past decade, we knew they would have some nifty tricks up their sleeves when they took delivery of one of the first FWD Lancer GTS models available.

Right off the bat, Rob knew this Lancer needed some more guts to really improve the character of the car. He and his guys quickly got to work fabricating a custom turbo kit, and what they came up with is now the only complete kit available for the 2.4 Lancer GTS. Consisting of a 16gGT3 turbo, tubular manifold, intercooler, downpipe and all the plumbing, the RRM kit is good for 300 hp at the crank, which is quite a noticeable bump over the stock output of 168 hp.

Rob has more than 25 years of racing experience, having driven everything from road race to rally, Formula Ford and even go-karts. If there's one thing he knows from all his experience behind the wheel, it's that power without control is a dangerous combination. To address the issue of controlling the newly found power in the Lancer, a major suspension overhaul was initiated. Using a set of custom TEIN coilovers as a starting point, RRM designed and built front and rear sway bars, a lower tie bar, a custom crossmember reinforcement and a four-point half rollcage to help stiffen the chassis. These modifications have changed the feeling of this once mundane family commuter sedan into a no-holds-barred, all-business, race-ready machine.

Modp_1004_02_z+2009_mitsubishi_lancer_2_4_gts+passenger_side_view Photo 3/11   |   Exterior Carbontrix front lip, splitter, grille, hood (painted), rear diffuser, rear spoiler, window vents; custom black housing taillights; RRM custom graphics; Paint by James

Furthermore, stock wheels and tires would simply not suffice-not only are they nasty-looking, but the major chassis upgrades and turbo kit meant the car would need some more serious rubber to really take advantage of RRM's modifications. Black Enkei RPF1s sized at 19x8.5 inches were selected and paired with super-sticky 235/35R19 Toyo T1R tires to help improve the road-holding characteristics of the Lancer. Rotora four-piston front brakes drastically improve stopping power as well, because we all know you have to slow down sometimes.

RRM wanted this build to not only showcase the fact that it's possible to make a FWD Lancer fast, but also look good. For the exterior aesthetic changes, the first step was a fresh coat of silver metallic paint. The classic and clean color, along with the black wheels, set the tone perfectly for all the carbon-fiber upgrades provided by Carbontrix. A CF front lip, splitter, grille and paint-matched hood accented by the unmistakable front-mount intercooler give the front end of this Lancer a menacing look; you won't pass this car without looking at least twice. On the back side, the car is outfitted with a nice custom rear diffuser, spoiler and black housing taillights, which look right at home with the car's monochromatic color theme. Top it off with the custom one-of-a-kind, center-exit RRM exhaust and you'd have to be a fool to write this off as a typical Lancer.

Modp_1004_03_z+2009_mitsubishi_lancer_2_4_gts+gauge Photo 4/11   |   2009 Mitsubishi Lancer 2.4 GTS - The Other* Lancer

Move to the interior and you'll be greeted by a pleasant and subtle arrangement of tasteful (and functional) upgrades. A pair of Megan Racing reclineable seats and Schroth harnesses keep the driver and passenger held tightly in place, and the rear seat was kept intact to avoid unnecessary attention from Officer Jack. A Zeitronix touch-screen HUD provides the driver with critical numbers, whether it be during a track event or on the street. (On that note, we should mention that, yes, this car is daily driven.)

Modp_1004_09_z+2009_mitsubishi_lancer_2_4_gts+air_filter Photo 8/11   |   2009 Mitsubishi Lancer 2.4 GTS - The Other* Lancer

What we have here is a unique build courtesy of Rob Tallini and Road Race Motorsports. They didn't use the already available and easily modable Evolution X, instead showing that a regular Lancer that most people use as a daily commuter can be built into a very capable and willing car, even if it's just powered by two wheels. That's one thing we never thought we would say about the other Mitsubishi Lancer.

Specs & Details
'09 Lancer 2.4 GTS

Engine Mitsubishi 4B12 inline-4

Engine Modifications Road Race Motorsports Lancer turbo kit including 16gGT3 turbo, tubular manifold, intake, front-mount intercooler, intercooler piping, downpipe; Tial 38mm external wastegate; RRM custom turbo spark plugs, one-off 2.25" center-exit exhaust; Carbontrix red engine cover, fuse box cover, spark plug cover

Engine Management Tuned by Road Race Motorsports

Drivetrain RRM Stage 1 clutch and pressure plate, external transmission cooler

Suspension Custom TEIN coilovers; RRM 28mm front sway bar, 24mm rear sway bar, lower tie bar, crossmember reinforcement; custom RRM 4-point half rollcage with harness bar

Wheels, Tires & Brakes 19x8.5" +42 (f/r) Enkei RPF1, 235/35R19 Toyo T1R tires, Rotora 4-piston caliper big brake kit (f) stainless braided brake lines (f/r) Motul brake fluid

Interior RRM billet sequential style shift knob, Megan Racing front seats, Schroth harnesses, Zeitronix touch-screen dash, ZT-2 wideband, boost gauge, tach, EGT gauge

Thanks To Road Race Motorsports, Carbontrix, Zeitronix, Toyo Tires, Enkei Wheels

Worth Knowing
The more widely popular "Big Brother" Mitsubishi Lancer, the Evolution, is a relative newcomer to U.S. streets. The first EVO sold stateside was the eighth-generation platform that first appeared at dealerships in 2003. Currently in it's 10th generation, the Lancer EVO has proved it's worth in all types of racing, from rally to time attack and everything in between.

By Nate Hassler
183 Articles



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