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Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution - Big Al's Evo Adventure

A First-Person Discovery Of Hardcore Puerto Rican Enthusiasm

Al Friedman
Nov 12, 2005 SHARE
Turp_0510_01_z+mitsubishi_evolution+front_view Photo 1/1   |   Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution - Big Al's Evo Adventure

612 WHP : 10.99 @ 132 MPH
Al Friedman is proof that, even in 2005, an enthusiast can take his passion for performance, in-depth knowledge and a little initiative and mix it with experience to create a business. For Al, the combination was all-wheel drive turbo-four power, an understanding of ECU technology and a silver EVO with a purple flame job. Dynoflash was the end result.

At its core, Dynoflash is an ECU reprogramming specialist and Al tests the goods on the track, dyno and street. Recently, he was summoned to Puerto Rico to tune some of the islands many EVOs and WRXs. We told him to pack a camera and come back with some shots chronicling his exploits.-EG

Puerto Rico's Quickest, Fastest And Most Powerful EVO VIIIAs car fanatics, we all share love for fast cars and the pursuit of the "perfect car." Few car hobbyists are as totally absorbed and driven by car mania as the owner of our featured car, Ivan "Evo" Bareaga. His Mitsubishi is the quickest, fastest and most powerful Evo VIII in Puerto Rico, and the first to run in the 12s, 11s and 10s.

During a recent visit to Puerto Rico I met Ivan at a San Juan dyno shop/social club for boost-addicted, power-hungry speed freaks called Sporty Dyno. In Puerto Rico, the dyno shop is both a tuning center and a meeting place to share ideas and patiently watch as fellow hobbyists try out their newest modification combinations. A nerve center for the Puerto Rican aftermarket car community, dyno shops are open during the evening hours so as the heat of the day cools off, the horsepower club comes out to find new ways to make power and to cheer on each other as new dyno records are set.

Where sessions are conducted in secrecy in America, dyno tuning is more of a spectator sport on the island. I can't think of a better way to spend an evening than downing a few beers, smelling the fumes of race gas, listening to the roar of engines and the excited talk of tuners sharing ideas and dreams. While watching an 850-whp twin-rotor RX-7 pound the dyno into submission with about 50 other car fanatics, I met Ivan, the owner of an amazing daily-driven 600-whp 10.9-second Evo VIII.

What captured my eye about Ivan's car was the amazingly clean and attractive setup in the engine compartment, combined with very good parts selection and carefully calibrated tuning. It takes great effort and talent to make a modified car that is both brutally fast and fully functional as a daily driver.

Ivan is one of the most Evo-crazy guys I have run across, hence the nickname "Evo Ivan" bestowed upon him by his pals at Sporty Dyno. Ivan was one of the first guys in Puerto Rico to pick up an Evo VIII and like us on the Mainland, it was a new experience to enjoy the famed Evolution. Ivan wanted to maximize the enjoyment factor of his high-performance machine but had no big plans other than using it as his daily commuter car and for an occasional trip to the dragstrip for fun. On his first trip to the dragstrip, Ivan ran a 14-second time and was laughed at by some rival owners of significantly modified STis. Ivan decided then and there to turn the tables on the STi camp and undertook a tuning journey that culminated in this amazing record-setting machine.

What really impressed me about Ivan was his lack of a specific ending point, goal, budget or time frame at which to call his Evo finished. This machine is a continual work in progress and Ivan intends to "go all the way," however far that takes him and his Evo. Every so often you meet a guy who enjoys what he is doing so much that the journey becomes more important than the destination. This is Ivan's first modified vehicle and he is really enjoying the process and learning a lot as he progresses.

Ivan and his friends Julio "Papotec" Rodriquez (mechanic) and rising tuning star Gadiel Gonzales of Maximum Performance (also tuner of Puerto Rico's quickest and fastest STi, 10.2 sec. at 142 mph) got together and set a course to craft a machine that could not only rule the dragstrip but could also handle daily commuting duties in comfort and style. The well-respected Evo tuning shop Ultimate Racing of Toronto, Canada was contacted to supply the basic performance upgrades such as exhaust, intake and e-Manage computer which got Ivan into the 11-second range back in December.

Reaching that milestone only intensified Ivan's lust for speed and triggered a move to acquire Ultimate Racing's Garrett GT35R turbo kit, which required a whole new series of modifications and improvements to support the upgrade. The GT35R has become a very popular turbo for Evos due to its mild lag and huge power potential; around the 600-whp range. Choosing to go with an off-the-shelf bolt-on Ultimate Racing turbo kit simplified the buildup and kept costs down. An Ultimate Racing upgraded front-mount intercooler and intercooler pipes deliver the boosted charge to a highly-crafted BJ's custom intake manifold.

With up to 30 psi of boost on tap, the decision was made to build up the stock 4G63 block with high-strength Eagle rods and Arias 9.0:1 racing pistons. Up top, HKS 272-degree cams with adjustable cam gears, along with 1mm oversized Ferrea valves, springs and titanium retainers fill the head, which was ported by Ultimate Racing to free up top-end power and raise the rev limit to a wild 9500 rpm. Also, the stock balance shafts were removed to reduce reciprocating mass.

With big boost and a 65-hp shot from a Nitrous Express wet nitrous system on tap, the fuel system needed to be upgraded to keep up with this machine's thirst for C-16 race gas. A set of 900cc injectors and an Ultimate Racing twin pump in-tank fuel system were plumbed with -8AN fuel line, a custom BJ's fuel rail and some very masterful hose routing and fabrication. An AEM stand-alone EMS system was installed to provide tuning control and data logging capability.

All this power hitting the ground led to several significant setbacks at the track with clutch and drivetrain failures. The characteristics of a heavy car with significant turbo lag requires a high-revving launch method that put tremendous loads on the drivetrain, particularly in a full-weight street car such as Ivan's Evo. Several front transfer cases were sacrificed to the quarter-mile gods while seeking the elusive 10-second pass.

Mitsubishi, perhaps capitalizing on the new market, did not service the individual parts in the front differential and the only way to repair a broken front differential was to replace the entire front transfer case. After spending about $1800 each on two replacement front transfer cases, mechanic, Papotec went experimental. Ingeniously, he disassembled several different factory Mitsubishi transaxles looking for parts to match the factory Evo VIII gears. After much dissection, he found that Mitsubishi Mirage spider gears matched up perfectly with the Evo's. This opened up a huge supply of inexpensive replacement gears.

A Phantom Grip LSD was added to the stock open differential to improve traction off the line and reduce dreaded wheel hop, which is the cause of most drivetrain damage in Evos. Finally, an APS twin-disk carbon clutch with push-style conversion was added to handle the increased power.

Papotec also theorized that by introducing the nitrous off the line, the launch rpm could be lowered. Leaving the line at a lower rpm means less stress on key driveline components. Although this approach may defy conventional wisdom for FWD and RWD cars, on the AWD platform the use of nitrous in conjunction with the larger turbo and careful tuning results in very consistent and predictable off-the-line performance. The key is to tune the car to have the nitrous and boost hit in a smooth, controlled manner. The nitrous system would spray using a progressive strategy executed by the AEM EMS, tailing off as boost climbs.

After months of hard work the project was finally completed on May 9, 2005 when Gadiel worked his magic on the AEM at Sporty Dyno in San Juan and pulled 612 whp out of his hat. The very next day Ivan took to the famous Carolina Raceway Park and set down the record-setting 10.99 at 132 mph pass. Redemption was sweet as Ivan proudly demonstrated to the STi doubters that his Evo was a force to be reckoned with. There is no end in sight for this project as many fellow Evo fanatics in Puerto Rico are gunning for the title of Fastest Evo VIII in Puerto Rico. Ivan and his pals have become addicted to the process of discovery and their mission is to learn more about how the 4G63 works and discover new ways of making more power.

Another thing that really impressed me about this machine is its stock-like driveability and idle quality as I was given a drive to our photo location. The AEM stand-alone ECU, or more specifically the tuning by Gadiel, handled the 900cc injectors, built engine and cams yet produced a car your grandmother could easily drive to the store. Speed is impressive, but the ability to produce intoxicating power levels while maintaining an OEM-like feel and function is the sign of careful parts selection and tuning which really sets this EVO apart.

What is equally impressive is that the two men responsible for wrenching and tuning this machine, Papotec and Gadiel, work out of their home garages and turn wrenches only as a second nighttime job. Gadiel is a mechanical engineer by day and tuner by night. Being the man behind the lap-top, tuning this Evo and also the physics-defying STi of "Big Valley" Victor, the fastest STi in Puerto Rico, which goes 10.2 at 142 mph, has really helped Gadiel become one of the island's top tuners. It is the commitment to the hobby illustrated by Ivan, Papotec, Gadiel and many other enthusiasts I met that puts Puerto Rico on the leading edge of the scene.

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Sources

AEM
Hawthorne, CA 90250
800-992-3000
http://www.aempower.com
Ferrea Racing Components
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
888-733-2505
http://www.ferrea.com
Nitrous Express
Wichita Falls, TX 76310
940-767-7694
www.nitrousexpress.com
Arias Forged Pistons
Gardena, CA 90249
By Al Friedman
2 Articles

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