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The Star of the Show

The Mitsubishi Evo 7. It’s a bit of an in-betweener, having come after the Evo 6 which brought about the Tommi Makinen special edition that boasted better performance and handling than a regular version. Neither did it develop a large enough following in the UK to produce models like the Evo 8 FQ400 with ridiculously high amounts of power. No, the Evo 7 sat somewhere in the middle of the two generations, but on its own it still managed to hold some importance.

The platform changed from the CP9A to the CT9A, as a result of shifting WRC regulations. Whereas the previous model was based on a standard Lancer, the Evo 7 was based on the Lancer Cedia platform, which was slightly longer than the regular model. The weight was increased as a result by roughly 60 kilos, but the importance lay in the better chassis balance as a result of the longer wheelbase (roughly 10 cm longer). The stability of a rally car played a large importance as WRC progressed from tighter technical stages to more aggressive, high speed, balls out, flat-over-crest type ordeals, shifting the focus from sharper agile cars to high-speed machines.

This new Evo also marked the introduction of an automatic drivetrain. To the performance enthusiast this is something akin to sacrilege and religious blasphemy but from a marketing perspective it shows that Mitsubishi was starting to lean towards the majority share of their consumers, which were only really avoiding the Lancer Evolution series because they couldn’t drive something with 3 pedals. With the introduction of an automatic variant, sales would have almost doubled as expected. Of course, the last Evolution model developed had a much more responsive dual-clutch unit in the form of Mitsubishi’s SST transmission, but the 5-speed automatic in the Evo 7 can be labeled as the origin of the customer-friendly Lancer Evolution.

But that doesn’t mean that the Evo 7 didn’t get as much attention as the other Lancer Evolutions. No, every Lancer Evolution model developed a certain fan base, regardless of size. The cars were so popular that they made a name for themselves and owners were always part of a club that opposed the Subaru WRX STi movement. It was usually quite polarized: you either liked one or the other, and both cars have their merits.

The Lancer Evolution features a transverse mounted engine at the front. The problem with this is that generally it is quite difficult to produce a rear-biased AWD system, which is the strength of the Lancer Evolution. Much of the appeal of the system stemmed from the success of Mitsubishi during WRC back in the day, even though the road going system was extremely different from that of an actual WRC car, both in terms of performance and flexibility. No, the AWD system in the road-going Evo 7 was a front-biased unit, meaning that for the most part the power is delivered to the front wheels unless the system detects a need to send power to the rear. This lack of flexibility posed a small problem to those who truly wish to set the car up to their preferences, although most owners simply adapted to the front-biased nature. After all, one of the fastest time attack cars in recent years has been the Cyber Evo, followed closely by the Sierra-Sierra Evo.

Another problem that stems from having a front biased system is that more of the weight is concentrated at the front, which does not do wonders for the weight distribution of the car. Unlike a Subaru WRX STi with the gearbox further back in the car, the Evo has a higher tendency to understeer unless you really nail the throttle. But it still performs in a very satisfying and predictable manner if you’re wringing it on the back roads or on track.

Now the benefits of the Evolution: pure power. There have been examples of Lancer Evolutions developing power figures close to 1000 hp, or more. Of course a lot of work has been done to the internals and the block in order to withstand such incredibly punishment, but the potential is there with every Lancer Evolution. Having a cast-iron I4 block allows for some pretty heavy duty modification and performance extraction.

As far as Lancer Evolutions go, this has to be one of the most complete examples of such a car. Not only has the owner done an immense amount of work to the engine, but the styling and feel of the car match the performance as well. This is the kind of car you’d feel more comfortable with seeing at a car show than roaming about on the roads, simply because of the raw and aggressive styling nature.

Starting from the outside, we can see a C-West carbon hood, paired with a Voltex carbon rear fender and diffuser, as well as a Seibon carbon front fender and trunk lid. Also found on the exterior are a C-West carbon GT wing which helps to keep that rear end planted when hitting some serious speed. The looks are aggressive enough to draw attention no matter where you are, and it could be almost be guaranteed that more people would stare at this Evo 7 than they would a Ferrari. There’s something spot on about the modifications, despite the contrast between the body colour and the carbon fibre. TE37s are also put into play, wrapped in Federal 595 RSR tyres for high grip levels when hitting the track.

Under the fenders we can find some interesting kit. At the front and rear are brake calipers from AP racing, as well as their rotor counterparts. They have incredible stopping power and fade resistance. Ohlins DFV coilovers and Whiteline bushings sit at each corner as well, helping to dampen out shocks and keep the car stable during the serious stuff. To keep the body rigid, Cusco products were employed in conjuction with a GReddy 3-point bar and an AMS lightweight crossmember for the benefits of added strength with little weight penalty. On the transmission side of things, the standard locking differentials have been replaced with units from Quaife for all three components. The transmission also has a Quarter Master twin-plate rally speed clutch for quick gear engagement and maximum power delivery.

But at the heart of this car really is the engine, and the heart of this car beats strong. 670 wheel horse power strong, when fed with a decent supply of race gas. But this performance didn’t come easy, requiring a multitude of different components from different manufacturers to all work in harmony in order to produce the required power output. The displacement of the engine has been stroked from 2.0 litres to 2.2 litres, adding a fair bit of extra punch to the engine as well. The crankshaft would not be able to handle all that power, so a Jun crankshaft was installed, as well as custom CP 86mm pistons with a compression ratio of 9:1 before the turbo kicks in. A few Hypertune components are also featured in the form of an intake, throttle body and fuel rail.

To get the extra power out of the engine, the regular turbo was swapped for an EFR Borgwarner 7670 twin-scroll unit. Twin-scroll turbos are really becoming common in the marketplace, with companies like BMW employing them wide scale for their turbocharged engines. It combines the benefits of a light turbo and a larger turbo, but doesn’t produce the two-stage lag that comes with a regular twin turbo setup. It’s a clever method to solve an otherwise troublesome problem and it makes the car a lot more driveable with a larger useable power band. GSC Power Division 274 degree cams with 11.2 mm lift were also installed for longer duration valve opening and higher air flow on both intake and exhaust. The exhaust system is also optimized for the turbocharger, with a Full Race exhaust manifold, downpipe and midpipe as well as a Trust PE Ti-R exhaust system. A large array of cooling components were necessary as well to keep the engine running in optimal conditions, ranging from a PWR radiator to HKS and Trust oil coolers.

There are many more components that were stuck in the engine bay that would require a lot more effort to explain and rationalize, so we’ll leave the build list below for your perusal. But the long and short of it is this: if you plan to build your own monster Lancer Evolution, this would be something to model your car after. The parts necessary to produce a powerful yet reliable engine can be staggering to consider, but simultaneously if you skimp on these components you only put your car at risk. But be warned: there have been many examples of car builds reaching this stage and forcing the owner to commit the car to a lifetime of speed with poor driveabillity on the road, or even the loss of road legal status. In this case, the only amenities in the cabin are a Recaro ASM RS-G bucket seat, a Nardi steering wheel and a Ralliart Combination meter cluster. That’s not a lot to see from the inside, but it does keep the focus on the driving and less on the showboating, allowing the driver to concentrate on his time attack battles.

Car: Mitsubishi Evo 7
Engine Mods: 2.2-liter stroker kit, Jun crankshaft, custom CP pistons 86mm bore (compression ratio 9), Carrillo Pro H connecting rods, Hypertune intake, Hypertune 90mm throttle body, Hypertune fuel rail, Injector Dynamics 1000cc fuel injectors, Aeromotive fuel gauge, Full Race twin-scroll exhaust manifold, AMS custom head, JUN valve guides, JUN head studs, JUN main studs, Tomei 1.5mm metal head gasket, Full Race twin Tial wastegates, PWR radiator, K&N open pod air filter, Spal fan, HKS & Trust oil coolers, Gates Racing Serpentine and ACT auxiliary belts, Cusco oil catch tank, Weapon R coolant tank, EFR Borgwarner 7670 twin-scroll turbo, Blitz intercooler, GSC Power Division Stage 2 cams (274 degrees, 11.2mm lift), Toda cam pulleys, GSC Beehive & Titan retainers, Fluidampr Harmonic Damper Plate, JUN oil pimp, custom fuel surge tank, Twin Bosch 044 fuel pumps, Trust PE Ti-R exhaust system, Full Race downpipe and midpipe
Electronics: Haltech Sports Platinum 1000, MSD ignition coils, Autronic CDI, GReddy gauges (boost, exhaust temperature, oil temperature)
Transmission: Quarter Master twin-plate rally-sped clutch, Quaife LSD (front, middle and rear)
Chassis & Handling: Ohlins DFV coilovers, complete Whiteline bushings for entire car, Cusco rear trunk bar, Cusco under carriage bars, GReddy three-point bar, AMS lightweight cross member
Brakes: AP Racing six-piston calipers 355mm (front), AP Racing four-piston calipers (rear), AP Racing rotors
Wheels & Tyres: Volk Racing TE37 18×10 +12, Federal 595 RSR tyres
Interior: Recaro ASM RS-G bucket seats, Nardi Personal 330mm steering wheel, Works Bell steering hub, Ralliart combination meter cluster
Exterior: C-West carbon hood, Voltex carbon rear wide fender, Voltex side skirts, Seibon carbon front wide fender, Seibon carbon trunk lid, C-West carbon GT wing, Voltex rear carbon diffuser Ralliart side-view mirrors
Power: 550whp and 530Nm @ 1.5-bar, 670whp @ 2.5-bar (race gas)
Garage: Dragstar

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