In a perfect world, there would be no such thing as a car beyond the reach of any enthusiast. If everyone shared the wealth, we would all be able to drive Ferraris on a pristinely maintained country club racetrack anytime we wanted. This idea of sharing everything equally amongst a populous is something I feel like I’ve heard before, though — something that sounds great on paper, but just isn’t that good in the real world. Thankfully, even though we live in a free-market democratic society, there’s still a way for the masses to get supercar performance for many thousands less than the sticker price of something like a 599 GTO.
It’s no secret that the Mitsubishi Evolution is an incredibly capable track car. Straight out of the box, this AWD turbo sedan has pretty impressive performance figures, especially considering the MSRP of less than $35,000. However, to say a stock EVO can hang with an exotic supercar (like the Ferrari or Lotus pictured on our cover) would be a stretch. So what are we to do? As you probably noticed, the EVO IX in this story is far from stock, and we can tell you that the way this car drives is actually not too far off from what you would get from an expensive European car costing three or four times as much money. The man behind the build of this all-business EVO is none other than Chad Block, accomplished race car driver and owner/founder of CBRD Speedfactory in York, Pennsylvania. With an extensive track record (no pun intended) driving many types of cars, including everything from Star Mazda open-wheel cars and LMP prototype racers, Chad has taken his firsthand knowledge of racing technology from the track to the realm of street cars, and the results are impressive.
“When we first got this EVO from our client, George Slavov, it needed a lot of ‘rethinking,’” Chad says. “[George] had owned this car for a few years and done a few modifications, but nothing really worked that well. We wanted to take this car as a test mule of sorts to create a turnkey package that customers can get from CBRD Speedfactory and take road racing right away.” In order to do this right, Chad and his guys planned out exactly what they wanted to get out of the car from the get go so they wouldn’t have to undo much more than what they already had on their plate. Chad tells me that reliability is key when building a car that will see regular track abuse, so they tore the block apart and rebuilt everything top to bottom.
“Because of our professional road racing history and what we were accustomed to working with in the ALMS and so forth, we at CBRD see the real value in the small cost of things like the addition of coatings on pistons and other engine internal parts,” Chad says. “These motors need to be able to last for years with 40-minute to one-hour track sessions, not just a single 9-second pass down the dragstrip.
“Things such as the proper O-ringing of the deck and of the block for good cylinder head sealing is an essential step that is sometimes overlooked. That, along with equal compression on all cylinders can be the difference between a motor that’s great for the quarter-mile or for several years of solid road racing,” Chad continues. “We typically use components such as Carillo rods for our builds because of their excellent build quality and choose our pistons to suit the needs of our specific goals. This adds some cost over what other companies do in the EVO community, but for CBRD it is peace of mind. For this EVO, we kept the stock 4G63 crank because it has been proven to be reliable up to 1,000 whp. We also keep the front balance shaft in all of our race motors for oil pump cover support — you won’t find any stubby oil pump shafts in our motors, as we have seen the pumps fail from that less-than-optimal solution.”
CBRD is well known in the industry for the slew of custom parts available for cars like the EVO. “Every bit of stainless steel or aluminum under the hood was custom fabricated by us here at CBRD,” Chad reminds me. “Lots of attention to detail was put into the channeling of air from the bumper through the intercooler and radiator assembly. The dual-pass, high-density radiator provides phenomenal cooling at speed on a car that sees 40-minute sessions of sustained road racing work. The Long runner exhaust manifold was built to help alleviate backpressure and stay in balance with positive pressure on the intake side of the motor; shortly after this article hits newsstands, the car is going to be getting a slightly larger compressor wheel and large intake manifold and throttle body, which should gain another 50 whp on the same fuel and boost pressure.” Power is sent to the four wheels via a heavily beefed-up Shep transmission, Exedy Twin HD clutch and Shep rear differential. Good for 485 hp to the wheels, this 4G63 is not only robust and powerful but streetable as well. Chad made it a point to tune this car on 93-octane pump gas so that it can be driven to and from the track without any issues of special fueling needs.
A large carbon-fiber rear wing helps provide downforce at high speeds on track, and that’s important for a car like this.
Inside the EVO’s cabin, it’s all business. The rear seat has been deleted to shed excess weight, and the heavy stock front seats have been ditched in favor of Recaro racing buckets. Custom low seat rails keep the driving position low (but adjustable for street use and for different drivers) and the driver and passenger are held securely in place by Schroth 6-point harnesses. An Autopower rollbar is in place for safety and to provide a suitable place to mount the harnesses — we’re all familiar with how dangerous an improper harness-mounting job can be in the event of a rollover or collision. Vital information is displayed on a Racepak digital dashboard with GPS tracking, and the Sparco steering wheel must feel right at home for high-speed maneuvering.
The EVO’s exterior looks proper, with a set of beefy Voltex wide fenders being the center of attention. A large carbon-fiber rear wing helps provide downforce at high speeds on track, and that’s important for a car like this. Sticking with the pursuit of function, Chad has fixed a set of custom CBRD Spec Moton two-way-adjustable motorsport dampers to the EVO, and the chassis is further upgraded by the use of a Perrin positive steering response system (this kit replaces the OEM bushings in the control arms and effectively makes for more predictable steering response and more controlled heavy braking) and a custom CBRD/ACD-Tuning adjustable active center differential. Enkei RPF1 wheels wrapped in 285/30R18 Advan A048s or Hoosier A6s grooved slick tires are the weapons of choice for this car’s track setup, depending on what the event rules allow. (Chad says the owner has street tires ready for the drive home after each track day.) Shortly, the car will be on some new Advan tires, as CBRD shares a relationship with the tire manufacturer to give feedback and marketing input. This ain’t no trailer queen, folks!
What we have here is a great example of what a well-balanced street/track hybrid car can be. With supercar-smashing performance, attention-grabbing good looks and a price tag normal people who don’t have oil money could hope to afford, who says you can’t have your cake and eat a Ferrari or two?
Let’s not forget that there is a middle ground between an Italian supercar and a Japanese 4-door sedan. One popular “in between” car is the Lotus Exige 240R. Chad has driven many different trims of Lotus’ and had this to say about the 240R: “The Lotus 240R is a terrific car — it’s a bit underpowered compared to the EVO, but it’s also extremely light-weight. I always find myself a gear higher in the corners than [most other cars] because the Lotus has tremendous mid-cornering speed. The 240R cars are on Öhlins suspension and have many other upgraded track components that make them very formidable track cars. Typically, what I find is that I run up on cars on corner entry and exit, but find myself slightly underpowered and out-motored down the straightaways. The feedback from the Lotus steering to the driver is second to none — it’s absolutely fantastic! The biggest benefit of the light weight is the amazing braking ability, without the negative drawbacks of a lot of reciprocating weight at the wheel or unsprung weight. Because it doesn’t take as much braking force to slow the lightweight Lotus down, this makes for fantastic feedback from the chassis.”
Specs & Details
'06 Mitsubishi EVO IX MR
Engine Mitsubishi 4G63 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
Engine Modifications CBRD F1 Manifold, Dual Pass racing radiator, 31RB turbocharger w/ Tial Housing, custom intake piping, custom spec head w/ inconel valves, dual springs, Ti retainers; Turbosmart 46mm recirculated wastegate; GSC S2 cams; AMS wet sump oil pan; ID 1,000cc Injectors; Walbro modified fuel pump; CBRD/Setrab oil cooler setup, Amsoil 15W-50
Engine Management CBRD-tuned stock ECU/MAF via Tephra V7 w/ gear dependant boost control & map switching
Drivetrain Exedy Twin HD clutch; Shep transmission & rear differential; Amsoil fluids
Suspension Custom CBRD Spec Moton 2-way adjustable motorsport dampers w/ external reservoir; Perrin PSRS kit, rear sway bar; CBRD/ACD-tuning.com adjustable ACD system
Interior Recaro Race seats; CBRD custom seat rails; 6-point Schroth harnesses; Autopower rollbar; RacePak dash w/ GPS data; Sparco steering wheel
Exterior Voltex wide fenders; JDM rear bumper; CBRD modular mounting system; carbon-fiber rear wing; CBRD modified Voltex canards
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Enkei RPF1 wheels 18x10.5" (f/r); Advan A048 MH tires or Hoosier R6 285/30R18 (depending on series rules); StopTech 355mm brake calipers (f); stainless brake lines; Hawk DTC60/70 brake pads; CBRD titanium lug nuts
Numbers 485 whp & 380 wtq