Never Lift was big fun. The equation for the half-mile top speed event is brilliantly simple—big long airstrip + fast cars + go-for-broke drivers—and even with the grom-level amount of tuning our Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII build had, we still came away with a big, stupid grin plastered across our faces after stretching the legs of our joint project with Motovicity Distribution. But that was just the start; Phase 2 promises to take things to the next level.
Again, we hit up Gary Castillo over at Design Craft Fab in Huntington Beach, Calif. to help us execute the upgrades, who you'll recall was the go-to for Phase 1. That first round of bolt-ons featured engine cooling mods from Mishimoto and Royal Purple, as well as breathing aids from Vibrant and GReddy, cabin safety from Sparco and NRG, and running gear from Konig and Toyo. Stage two will target suspension, brakes, and drivetrain, and will also focus on the 4G63's forced induction system and, by extension, engine management. It's important to point out for these last two mods we are using parts designed for "off-road use only," meaning after we install them our Evo will no longer be street legal. But that's ok, since we just needed to make sure the sedan was ready for The Speed Ring time-attack in a couple weeks.
When we got to the shop, Castillo had a couple of sub-assemblies ready to drop into place, starting with the cool side of the turbo 4G63 inline-4. A Skunk2 Pro Series cast aluminum intake manifold will supplant what came from the factory, and was outfitted with matching S2 throttle body, Aeromotive fuel rail loaded up with GRAMS injectors, and Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator with AEM 3.5-bar MAP sensor. The Skunk2 parts give us an improvement in airflow, and obviously since we're upping the boost a corresponding increase in fuel is necessary, which is the reason for the fueling system upgrades.
On the exhaust side, we have a Forced Performance manifold and turbocharger combo, the snail one of its FP Green ball-bearing turbos; Forced also kicked in one of its cast O2 housings, while Motovicity supplied a TiALSport 38mm MVS wastegate for the setup. "The [turbo] is the full, Xona Rotor-equipped version, using the TiALSport cast-and-machined turbine housing," Mike Franke from TiALSport explains. "The main reason this unit was supplied was that it's the quickest-responding turbo in that family. That said, if down the line the engine build goals are increased, it can be replaced with no modification to the fitment with a larger unit, but it's pretty potent, at 570HP worth of flow, with quick response."
We got our hands on a Mishimoto Intercooler Pipe Kit for our girl to go along with the Mishi intercooler from last time, which is a set of polished aluminum pipes that aim to smooth out some of the bends versus the OEM system and, again, optimize airflow. Each segment of pipe is manufactured with bead-rolled ends to help keep everything together, which is also the job of the included T-bolt clamps, and we opted for the black silicone couplers to link all the pieces together.
In the cabin, we had to pull up the rear seat cushion to get at the in-tank electric fuel pump in order to replace it. For this, we sourced an 340lph Aeromotive Stealth pump, which will increase fuel system flow to keep up with the greater demands of more boost.
We put the Evo up in the air to install most of the rest of what we had, starting with the Apex GT Downpipe. This bit of stainless-steel plumbing comes with a larger diameter than stock for better flow of exiting gases and a reduction in backpressure.
KW Suspensions came aboard with a set of their Clubsport 3-way coilovers, which feature dampers that come with adjustable rebound and high- and -low-speed compression, sure to elevate our Evo's handling. From KW's sister outfit, ST Suspensions, we also sourced a beefy 25mm diameter rear stabilizer bar that should help mitigate body roll once this puppy hits the track.
Since we're expecting a pretty good-sized bump in power once everything is buttoned up and tuned, it's probably a good idea to look at the drivetrain and see if there's anything we can do to get it ready. An Exedy Hyper Twin Disc Organic Clutch Kit augments the handshake from engine to trans, and a Black Flag limited-slip diff was installed to help equalize power distribution amongst wheels; Royal Purple fluids are used throughout the drive system for an added measure of protection.
Additionally, those Toyo R1R-shod Konig Ampliforms we talked about last time are now secured to the hubs via ARP extended wheel studs, and we slipped some Hawk brake pads into the binders for even more peace of mind.
You may have noticed the AEM MAP sensor plugged into our Aeromotive FPR earlier—it is part of a raft of sensors and modules from the racing electronics maker that we're using on the Evo project to help facilitate having the car properly tuned before we take it time-attacking. That array includes a CAN sensor module, wideband O2 sensor kit, oil pressure and air temperature sensors, and a quartet of thermo-couplers. AEM also flowed us a boost solenoid kit for controlling that psi, and the entire suck-squish-bang-blow symphony is orchestrated by an AEM Infinity Series 5 engine control unit, with vitals monitored via AEM CD-7 Digital Dash Display.
With the Speed Ring deadline looming, we loaded up our Evo 8 and took it to the 4G63 specialists over at Road Race Engineering in Santa Fe Springs. It was there we met Sam Chaysavang from AEM, who coincidentally enough was an ex-employee of RRE and, more critically, familiar with tuning the venerated Evo power plant. He opened up the AEM Infinity's immensely powerful suite of features to dial in our ol' girl, and with the motorsports-grade hardware was able to extract an impressive 525 horsepower at the wheels.
Once the tune was done, we shipped off Project Motovicity Evo VIII to Michigan and the Speed Ring—but that's another story for another time. We'll have more coverage soon of how the AWD Mitsubishi fared in the time-attack (as well as a companion piece on the overall event), in addition to more videos of the build and what the 8 did in the heat of competition. Stay tuned!