Courage; the one word which best describes the ability for those who’ve undergone extreme situations and measures. It also relates to the spirit of a person when going through difficult situations in order to achieve a particular goal or target. Assumingly there’s a certain degree of courage in everyone but the fact is that it differs and that determines the fate of oneself.
In the world of car modifications, courage is something which a person should have and that’s a fact. It takes a lot of courage to spend big for more horsepower. And it takes a lot of courage as well as patience if you’re playing with an old school machine, especially when it comes to sourcing for parts. While some may not agree – inevitably when you’re living in Malaysia and parts or the cars themselves aren’t cheap – it requires a lot of courage apart from patience, passion and well, a lot of money.
This then bring us to our subject of the day, a bright orange Lancer Evolution 8 in the striking HKS Hipermax insignia. A big fan of the Japanese tuning giant which operates at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan, Ismail brings the glory of this brand to his ride.
Why I kept repeating the word courage in this article is simply because the owner has certainly spent a lot on this machine, which he races, and drives daily. With the list of modifications done, some might say that it’s not street worthy anymore, but the man himself who is a self proclaimed Mitsubishi fan has his own perceptions. I’ve seen him driving it around daily and also at two official drag racing events. Now that is what I call hardcore.
To build a machine in a street drag trim, one has to remember that there should be a balance between power and drivability. Power can be easily achieved, but drivability requires sacrifice for less and that is key for Ismail’s Evo.
Work on the engine commenced with an increase in displacement via a Tomei 2.3 liter stroker kit. Intending for a major power upgrade, the engine’s block was not neglected and a full balancing performed on it. A much thicker metal gasket and a high performance cylinder head inclusive of HKS 280° camshafts and HKS valvetrain components was then set atop the cylinder block. The camshafts work together with a HKS duralumin adjustable cam pulley for precision and HKS timing belt for durability.
As air flow is vital to a high powered engine, the cylinder head also had been ported and polished. The original inlet manifold also had to make way for a custom built unit in glorified stainless steel material, to be mated with a larger throttle body. There was also an upgrade with the fueling system to cope with the engines new thirst. All the injectors are now replaced with higher cc HKS injectors, while pumping fuel from the tank is a Walbro fuel pump. The stock fuel tank has also been replaced with an ATL racing fuel cell.
With the engine ready for high boost levels, there was a huge potential for a bigger turbo kit ranging from custom made to ready made plug n play units. For a hassle free upgrade, Ismail opted for a HKS GT3037 kit instead; it comprises of a manifold, turbine unit, downpipe and an external wastegate. The turbo kit also comes with a turbo heat shield made of steel with HKS engraved on it. Talk about having a little style with substance.
With the potential of pushing out well over 400 horses, the HKS kit is the perfect choice for this street drag project. Meanwhile, Ismail also fitted a HKS Racing Reloaded air filter to combat any dirty particles from entering his beloved engine while also enhancing the beauty of the engine bay. As with engine waste, it is dealt with a HKS Hi-Power complete exhaust system.
Together with the new turbo kit was a HKS R-Type intercooler with all the necessary pipes and hoses. The R-Type intercooler is well capable of supporting around 400-700 horsepower, while the S-Type is designated for around 250-400 horsepower. Anything else exceeding the 700 mark would have to be consulted with the HKS GT kit.
The engine was given a full remap via a standalone Apexi Power FC engine control unit. Addressing the cooling issues is one of the few main concerns of this project, the installation of a HKS oil cooler kit and an aluminum radiator ensure that this Evo would not be a victim of overheating. Meanwhile, a Cusco oil catch tank helps trap unwanted particles heading into the cylinder head.
Moving on with the Evo’s drivetrain, it is through the 4WD configuration where this car possesses its magic; but Ismail saw room for further improvement with his gearbox. A HKS dog engagement gear kit which has this loud clunking sound on gear changes is the main addition to the transmission. While some may think that the noise is caused by a gearbox malfunction, for performance motoring enthusiasts, that sound is unmistakable. The gearbox also saw the addition of a quick shifter together with an ATS clutch.
On the handling forefront, Ismail had fitted a Tein Monoflex suspension system which is compatible for both the street and racing purposes. The stock Brembo calipers were left untouched and only with the addition of a set of performance brake pads that there’s enough bite to stop the machine in time. The lovely Advan RGII 17” wheels on this Evo are similar to the ones on the HKS time attack car and there couldn’t be a better match but a set of Toyo R888 semi slicks.
As for the interior, it was relatively untouched. All the door trims, rear seats and even the audio system is still intact. A set of Defi meters, including boost, exhaust temp, oil pressure and water temp are placed atop the dashboard to give that street racer feel especially when Ismail’s rolling in his baby at night. A Pivot shift lamp is also fitted to provide the driver with the indication to shift when the driving gets rough. A Blitz electronic boost control allows for different levels of boost at a touch of a button, when Ismail feels like being a little playful.
Moving on with the exterior, apart from all those larger than life vinyls, this Evo 8 dons the Chargespeed Type 2 body kit. Helping to reduce weight at the front end is a Voltex carbon fibre bonnet, while a Voltex GT Wing ensures that there’s sufficient downforce at high speeds.
With the ability to register a time of around 11 seconds during the recent Sarawak Drag Battle Series, this Evo’s journey for horsepower nirvana has only just begun. With the owner’s courage to drive this machine on a daily basis, with further chassis enhancements and engine tweaks, together with a whole lot of driving skills, it is not impossible for this Evo to register a 10 second quarter mile run. Only time will tell.
Car: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII
Engine Modifications: Tomei 2300cc stroker kit, HKS 280-degree camshafts, HKS full valvetrain kit (valve,spring and retainers), HKS adjustable cam pulley, HKS timing belt, HKS metal gasket, port and polish, HKS injectors, Walbro fuel pump, Sard fuel regulator, HKS GT3037 turbo kit, HKS R-Type intercooler kit, HKS reloaded air filter, HKS oil cooler, HKS Hi-Power exhaust system, aluminium radiator, silicone hoses, custom plenum, larger throttle body, Cusco oil catch tank
Transmission: HKS dog engagement close ratio gearbox, ATS clutch and flywheel, quick shift
Suspension: Tein Monoflex
Brake: Brembo, performance brake pads
Wheels: Advan RGII 17 inch, Toyo Proxes R888
Electronic: Apexi Power FC ECU, Blitz electronic boost controller
Interior: Defi boost, water temp, exhaust temp, oil pressure and oil temp meter, Pivot shift lamp
Exterior: Chargespeed Type 2 bodykit, Voltex front bonnet and GT wing