If you've ever built a car with a buddy, you know he's never the one asking if it's wise to drop the equivalent of a house payment on a set of racing slicks. No, those questions-if they even get asked-are reserved for significant others. Forget the devil on your shoulder. The guy passing you the 12mm at 2 a.m. is the one who pushes you past your threshold of what's sane and what's logical. For better or worse, he's the one who makes you do things like build an 800hp monster to tear down the quarter-mile in 8 seconds.
In 2003, Frank Villeneuve and Serge Turcotte found themselves frustrated by their Eagle Talons' performance. While Frank's '95 2G and Serge's '90 1GA had plenty of power and potential, the far from lightweight construction held both guys back from quarter-mile domination.
The solution came in the form of a '94 Dodge Colt. At the time, the guys reasoned that it would be easier and cheaper to have a single, dedicated project car to wrench on, rather than two daily drivers. What started out as a $650 (Canadian) beater would eventually become a $60,000 example of DSM brute force.
Translated from the language of Mounties, the car goes by Mitsubishi Mirage. However you say it, at a stock 92 hp the little coupe was far from quick. Once they got the car home, the duo tackled that problem full force over the next five years, beginning by gutting the engine bay and selling the stock mill.
The guys continued with a complete tear down, going all the way to a bare shell and lacing the interior with a 10-point rollcage. After pulling all of the go-fast goodies off of their street rides, Frank and Serge sold the pair of Talons and recycled what they could for their new toy. A ported head, turbo, cams, and a slew of other pieces made their way onto the Mirage's new beating heart-a 2.0L 4G63, the motor that makes Mitsubishi legends.
About $5,000 later, the guys had a decent head mated to the untouched block pushing both front wheels via a welded differential. That combo managed to rocket the car into the high 10s-at least it did until an axle broke at the end of the quarter-mile, launching Serge sideways and into Napierville Dragway's guardrail at 130 mph. The team's decision to run tubes inside of the car's racing slicks helped keep things shiny side up. The straight-line coupe did its best impression of a drifter for about 100 feet down the track and by the time it came to a stop, the guys had to decide whether to scrap the car or take it to the next level.
For these guys, that decision was easy, and two months later the car was back in the game with a custom full-tube front end wrapped in a fiberglass nose. After swapping out the busted radiator, intercooler, and axles, the team planted a Quaife limited-slip differential in the transmission. "After [the wreck], we pretty much decided the welded transmission was a bad idea," Frank says. While getting friendly with the crash barriers at Napierville was probably the last thing Serge wanted to do, the car's resurrection set the guys down a path for true speed.
Over the next two years, the Mirage evolved into an epic player. The guys pulled the original mill and dragged it through Serge's laboratory, swapping the stock rods for aluminum pieces coupled to forged Ross pistons from their sponsor Magnus Motorsports. The original block was honed .020 over the stock 85mm and topped off with Moroso block fill in preparation for serious boost on top of the new 10:1 compression ratio.
The original turbo system was ditched in favor of a massive Garrett 4202 coupled to custom 3.5-inch piping. The new setup utilizes dual TiAL 38mm wastegates and a Turbonetics Godzilla blow-off valve to keep a handle on the mammoth turbo's boost. That's a good thing, since the guys have experimented with everything from 30 to 55 psi. With a 74mm inducer and a 1.15 A/R ratio, the guys have to make sure small children don't get sucked down the intake side of things.
The Garrett unit shoves air through a Magnus manifold and into a custom head with extensive porting done by Serge himself. Inside, a set of Comp cams ground by Magnus control the 1mm oversized Supertech valves. A set of Kiggly Racing Beehive high-pressure racing springs with titanium retainers were installed to ensure a quick response out of the valvetrain. The guys topped off the headwork by welding all of the water journals with aluminum in preparation for the car's next big change.
Frank and Serge trashed the car's stock fuel system, switching to methanol in order to squeeze as much power as possible out of the Mitsu four-banger. An Aeromotive mechanical pump pushes the go juice into dual Magnus fuel rails and through four primary and six secondary 160 lb/hr injectors. An Aeromotive regulator makes sure all of those hungry mouths are properly fed. The trick fuel runs exponentially cooler than it's petroleum counterpart, meaning Frank and Serge have no need for silly things like an intercooler, even as they approach the 800hp mark.
With the intake side of the motor squared away and the beast properly fed, Serge turned his fabricating wizardry on the engine's exhaust. A custom tubular manifold was constructed just for the 4202, and a 3.5-inch pipe exits out front to facilitate disposal of spent gasses.
The car runs 15x9.25 Weld Racing wheels up front, wrapped in 15x28x10.4 Mickey Thompsons. With that much power on one end and almost 2 feet of super-sticky rubber on the other, Frank and Serge knew they were going to need a seriously stout transmission.
Christian Landry out of Montreal was more than happy to provide a slush box out of a 2G for the job. Using a custom torque converter with a 4,500rpm stall limit, stock gear ratios and an ultra high torque aluminum front clutch, the push-button box can handle whatever Serge can throw at it-so long as it's not a guardrail.
In order to keep the Red Line racing AT fluid slick, a Moroso transmission cooler was installed. The same Quaife gear limited-slip differential was chosen to turn a pair of Stage 5 custom-length axles by Drive Shaft Shop.
With all of the go-fast bits squared away, the duo turned their attention to rolling and stopping. The car still utilizes most of the stock Mirage geometry up front, but in the rear Frank and Serge went with a straight axle originally designed for a Honda. The guys at Ken's Kustom Chassis tweaked the trick piece just for the DSM dragster.
Tearing up to 170 mph in less than 9 seconds is a blast, but being able to come back down from that speed in a reasonable amount of space is just as important. The Mirage handles re-entry thanks to four-piston Brake Man calipers clamping on 11-inch rotors in the front and four-piston Aerospace pieces squeezing 10-inch discs in the rear. A pair of Wilwood master cylinders push the car's fluid through stainless braided lines, keeping the pedal firm under Serge's foot.
The car keeps its dragster mindset with skinny Weld Racing 14s in the rear. Mickey Thompson 15x24x4's make sure the car's super stoppers have the traction the car needs to come down from warp speed.
In order to shave a few more pounds off of the car's featherweight physique, all of the stock glass was swapped with Lexan. Versa Style in Leval, Canada, handled the custom front clip, and Camo Customs rounded out the exterior work with a Mazda Red and Lamborghini Gray paint scheme.
The whole package is good for a best trap speed of 171 mph at 8.74 seconds. "I'd really like to touch the 7s," Serge says, "but it's a challenge." With a couple of local victories under their belt from the 2007 season, the guys plan to hit as many events as possible this year, including Nopi in New Jersey, a DSM shootout in Ohio, and the Canadian Sport Compact Series. "It's not the fastest car out there," Frank says, "but it's doing OK."
Garret 4202 turbine
Dual TiAL 38mm wastegates
Turbonetics Godzilla blow-off valve
Custom tubular manifold
Custom 3.5-inch exhaust
Aeromotive mechanical fuel pump
Magnus fuel rails
Four primary and six secondary 160 lb/hr injectors
Ross Pistons 10:1 compression ratio
Engine block-honed 0.020 over
Moroso block fill
Moroso transmission cooler
Quaife gear limited-slip differential
Drive Shaft Shop Stage 5 custom-length axles
Custom torque converter: 4,500rpm stall limit
Versa Style custom front clip
Custom full-tube front end wrapped in a fiberglass nose
Camo Customs Mazda Red and Lamborghini Gray paint
Four-piston Brake Man calipers: 11-inch front rotors front
Four-piston Aerospace pieces: 10-inch rear rotors
Wilwood master cylinders
Stainless braided lines
Weld Racing 15x9.25 wheels
Mickey Thompson 15x28x10.4 (front), 15x24x4 (rear)