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Circuit Slayer


From racing to the road and then back to racing, the evolution of the Mitsubishi Evo sees it plying its trade in various forms of motorsports and to varying degrees. Bred from the gruelling world of rallying, the road-going version still embodied all the ferocity and prowess of the Evo in a road legal package that conveniently came with four doors and a boot.

However, the funny part is that quite a number of these road Evos find themselves losing their road legality in the pursuit of faster lap times, quicker cornering and the ultimate driving pleasure as dedicated track cars. While many still retain legality on the road, to go that extra mile demands extra sacrifice.

One such example is the Evo 7 circuit racer belonging to Spark Motorsports. Based in our southern neighbours Singapore, the car’s second home is the Sepang International Circuit, which is where it earns its living as a time attack racer with a number of hot shoes behind the wheel for the many time attack events that are mushrooming here.

Like most proper track car builds, reliability was the main focus rather than outright power. Keeping with the trend in time attack, aerodynamics was a major focus in the build as well to keep the car planted and increase cornering speeds, something paramount for a fast-paced circuit.

The 4G63 mill was completely stripped down and given a healthy boost of Cosworth goodies in the bottom and top end. The main bearings, conrod bearings and conrods are from Cosworth, as are the 85.5mm pistons and 1.3mm metal head gasket that keeps the head and block sealed tight together. Cosworth also supplied the 272-degrees camshafts, valve springs, head studs and timing belt to complete the long block build.

Cooling the compressed charged air entering the intake manifold is a Cosworth intercooler designed for an Evo X while engine cooling is taken care of by a slew of Mishimoto’s finest, in the form of an aluminium radiator, low-temp thermostat, oil cooler kit and silicone hoses.

An enlarged JUN oil sump prevents oil starvation during high-G corners while a fuel surge tank and fuel rail from Works Engineering handles the fuelling bits. Mishimoto also provided the power steering reservoir and oil catch tank ancillaries.

If you’re wondering what provides the boost in the equation, the answer is a Turbonetics TD06-20G unit that is modestly sized but provides a healthy powerband that gives the car plenty of kick throughout the rev-range. The intake air is filtered by a Blitz air filter and spent gases are channelled out via a custom three-inch exhaust system.

Many of the top teams in time attack are now splurging on good ECUs as they have come to realise the importance of having a proper governance over the engine’s operations. In this case, Spark Motorsports went with a Vipec ECU, one of the best money can buy right now. Paired with a Blitz boost controller, the combinations keeps the timing, air/fuel mixture and other engine operations within the safe parameters while producing maximum power.

The stock transmission has been retained as the power figures are not overwhelming for the factory gearbox yet. However, to prevent clutch slippage during those full-throttle shifts, an Extreme carbon clutch is utilised and handles the power with ease.

Handling has been improved from the ground up and we mean literally from the ground up. The entire chassis was spot-welded to improve the rigidity and reduce chassis flex on the track. Both the anti-roll bars were replaced with Whiteline pieces, a respected name in the segment. They also provided the solid bushings that replaced the squishy OEM pieces used in the car.

Stopping is one of the most important aspects in nailing a fast lap time. In order to maximise their advantage in braking, the Spark Motorsports team use Cosworth callipers at both ends, six-pistons for the front and four for the rear, which seems a little overkill.

The Evo 7 rolls on lightweight Prodrive wheels measuring a monstrous 18-inches in diameter and 10.5-inches in width. Depending on the circuit conditions and driver, the massive Prodrive wheels are wrapped in either Kumho KU36 or Yokohama A0505 rubbers.

Inside the office, the stripped interior is to be expected with only the bare necessities retained. With a bolted-on roll-cage for safety, the driver sits in a Sparco Sprint V bucket seat and is strapped in by a Sparco six-point harness. To meet track safety requirements, a 2kg Sparco fire extinguisher is fitted inside.

As we mentioned earlier, aero is a key feature on the car and the custom wide body kit is the starting point. Apart from covering the tyres from the wider track of the car, it also houses the custom front-to-rear diffuser and significantly increases downforce. The front splitter is the starting point of this diffuser and leads all the way to the back to keep the rear planted. Helping to keep that rear end stuck to the asphalt is the Sard GT wing that is bolted to the boot lid.

If you’re a regular at Sepang for time attack events, there is no doubt you would have seen the Spark Motorsports Evo 7 in action. The car is one of the best prepared cars on the grid and is constantly dropping some impressive times that leave the rest of the field trailing.

Behind that slightly bruised and battered appearance that is mandatory of all track cars because it adds character, the immaculate workmanship and skills of Spark Motorsports is clear to be seen and is testament to the quality of their handiwork.

Hyperfacts!

Car: Mitsubishi Evo 7

Engine Mods: Cosworth main bearings, Cosworth conrod bearings, Cosworth conrods, Cosworth 85.5mm pistons, Cosworth 1.3mm metal head gasket, Cosworth head stud, Cosworth valve spring, Cosworth camshafts 272-degrees, Cosworth timing belt, Cosworth Evo X intercooler, JUN oil sump, Works Engineering fuel surge tank, Works Engineering fuel rail, Mishimoto oil cooler kit, Mishimoto, silicone hose, Mishimoto aluminium radiator, Mishimoto power steering reservoir, Mishimoto oil catch tank, Mishimoto thermostat, Turbonetic TD06-20G turbine, custom 3-inch exhaust, Blitz air filter, Beatrush engine mountings

Electronics: Vipec ECU, Blitz boost controller, Defi gauges

Transmission: Extreme carbon clutch

Chassis & Handling: Custom spot-welded chassis, Whiteline anti-roll bar, Whiteline bushings

Brakes: Cosworth six-piston brake kit (front), Cosworth four-piston brake kit (rear)

Wheels & Tyres: Prodrive 18X10.5JJ offset +15, Kumho KU36 or Yokohama A050 tyres

Interior: Sparco Sprint V bucket seat, Sparco six-point harness, Sparco 2kg fire extinguisher

Exterior: Custom wide body kit, custom front-to-rear diffuser, Sard GT wing

Garage: Spark Motorsports

Text: DA
Photos: Kenny Yeoh and Justin Toh

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