If this isn't the ultimate daily-driven EVO VIII, it's damn close. Owner Al Friedman is a lawyer who has morphed in a way that would impress the Incredible Hulk. Al has gone from addressing the laws of the land to addressing the laws of physics.
The initiator of this sweeping conversion is a particular combination of all-wheel drive and a turbocharger. Al was first drawn in by the Subaru WRX; then the Mitsubishi EVO VIII hit the scene and it was over. Enthralled, Al went from interested enthusiast to AWD groupie to AWD techie, and then into the EVO business-ECU tuning.
"After law school, I started to drive European luxury cars like the M5, " says Al. "I had an SL600 for a while. I used to work on them a bit, doing the usual bolt-ons like exhausts and intakes with chips. One day I was driving down the road and I saw a most unusual looking car-the new WRX.
"The moment I saw the WRX, something clicked in my head and I immediately got rid of my SL600 and went to the better-handling, sportier WRX. I remember telling the sales guy at the Subaru place 'Man, this would be an amazing car with another 50 hp.' One thing led to another and for two years I spent almost every single spare moment modifying my WRX. If I wasn't driving it, wrenching it or racing it at autocrosses or drag races, I was on the Internet talking about it. It became my life; I was hooked big time on turbo AWD cars and I got into the car scene.
"I decided to convert my WRX to a full JDM STi C-spec drivetrain and engine swap and try to win the championship of the fastest WRX in the United States. At that point, I got into some serious engine management issues and ECU wiring fiascos and spent the better part of six months learning to wire and tune a stand-alone ECU. I soon realized that tuning was my favorite thing to do and I spent long nights-sometimes all night-driving up and down the interstate learning to make my WRX faster and run better. I won the first annual Subaru East Coast Shootout with an 11.88 at 124 mph and to this day, my trap speed is one of the fastest ever recorded for a street-driven Subaru in the United States."
When the EVO came out, Al's desire for tuning really went off the deep end. He realized that he enjoyed modifying cars more than anything else and started to offer his services as a tuner for hire; first with A'PEXi S-AFC's and doing installs of boost controllers and cams when the EVO first came out.
"From the first day the EVO was released, I've been tearing mine apart and putting it back together almost constantly, trying to refine it and modify it to meet my vision of the ultimate road car. After a lot of trial and error with my own EVO, I realized that reflashing the ECU was an effective and powerful tuning solution for the 4G63. I decided to make the jump into the tuning world and offer some basic re-flashed EVO ECUs under the Dyno Flash banner.
"After word spread of the good results we were getting with the reflashes I started getting busier. The more business I got, the less time I had for my first career-law-and the less interest I had in working in it. In the past nine months, I've been to Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Baltimore, D.C., L.A., Indy, Chicago, Ohio, and Tennessee; not to mention many weekends of drag racing my own car. I now do this full time.
"After I developed a good understanding of the EVO and created a huge library of base maps for various modification combinations, Dyno Flash started to offer through-the-mail customized reflashes that match the mods of the particular customer's car at a very reasonable price of $199.99. We have had huge success with this product and it's on a lot of EVOs out there.
"I've learned that by concentrating my energies on one aspect of tuning (reflashes) and staying focused on one car for the time being (EVO VIII), I've been able to unlock a great number of secrets of the factory ECU and achieve some amazing results with a very effective tuning tool -the reflash.
"Right now we have more than 650 dyno-flashed EVO VIIIs out there and we enjoy a very good reliability and durability record with no reported engine failures. We have many clients who are running in the 11s in the quarter mile with our reflash and we've produced up to 450 whp with the reflash on the stock engine."
Al's business partner is a silver 2004 Mitsubishi EVO VIII and his R&D department is the stretch of highway between his home base in Stamford, Conn., and the dragstrips of the Atlantic seaboard.
In its current state of tune, Al's flamed and skulled EVO sports a built bottom end featuring 9.0:1 Pruven Performance pistons and Pauter rods. The Pauter units are special "turbo rods" that feature a special tool steel and extra thick rod bolts for added strength under pressure. A reworked head that sports 1mm oversized Ferrea stainless valves, port-matched and polished runners and 264-degree JUN cams with HKS adjustable cam gears online for fine-tuning, tops the short block.
"We've developed a good head porting database," says Al, "but caution is in order as the coolant jackets are much closer to the exhaust ports in the EVO and there's not a lot of material in the exhaust ports."
Boost is generated by a tried-and-proven HKS 3037S configured with a .60 A/R on the compressor side and a 1.12 A/R housing on the turbine side. From the cold side, the charge air is pushed through an AMS front-mount intercooler and into the engine via a Works throttlebody and Magnus Motorsports sheetmetal intake. On the hot side, a custom downpipe leads to a Buschur Racing 3-inch exhaust system.
Fueling can be a critical issue with the 4G63 as the fuel pump can waver under hot temperatures and fail to deliver ample pressure under full boost, causing a dangerous lean condition. Al recommends upgrading to a Walbro 342, which is a direct factory replacement. Also at issue is the regulator, which can provide erratic flow at higher-than-stock boost levels. Al recommends a Pruven billet adaptor and Aeromotive adjustable regulator tag team. This setup allows easy installation of the regulator to the stock rail, which has been deemed adequate for added power levels.
On Pruven Performance's Dynojet, the silver-tongued Diamond Star rocked the house, pumping out 529.7 whp at 35 psi with C-16 coursing through its veins. With 91 octane on board, boost is dialed back to 22 psi.
When it comes to high-horsepower, high-tech weekend warriors, the clutch can kill the deal. Fuel octane rating aside, a clutch capable of holding the high power often lacks the finesse needed for daily driving or even properly applying said power where it matters most-at the strip. This is what we call an "on/off switch" clutch that does nothing for the first 95 percent of pedal travel then crams 100 percent of the engagement in that last five percent of travel, which means spinning wheels off the line and lackadaisical times on the scoreboard.
Al has found clutch nirvana in the form of the Exedy Hyper Carbon. "The most important factor in having a high-whp AWD turbo car is the ability to smoothly transfer the power to the wheels without shocking the drivetrain and without creating an overload of heat into the clutch. My EVO's sticky Toyo RA1s only enhance the chance to shock the drivetrain.
"Exedy's carbon clutch technology allows for a very smooth and progressive engagement of the clutch, which allows you to get some enthusiastic acceleration while not shocking your gears and parts in the drivetrain.
"The amazing thing about the Hyper Carbon clutch is the ability to withstand insane amounts of heat and not be affected in any way. In fact, the more heat you throw at the carbon clutch, the better it works. I have to slip the clutch between the burnout box and the staging beams to get some heat in it. Forget heating the tires with a smokey burnout, I gotta cook the carbon. Many starters think I don't know what I'm doing until I rip an 11.
"Also, a key advantage of the carbon clutch is its ability to endure under the harshest conditions. Before, with traditional twin disks, I was changing clutches after three or four race events. With the carbon clutch, it can last for an entire race season and more with ease.
"Finally, the carbon clutch has the ability to speed your shifting because the disks are very light weight and when you disengage the clutch, the input shaft of the transmission can slow more quickly. Due to the low inertia of the carbon disks, the shifting is almost 50-percent quicker than a standard clutch without plunging into the abyss of driveline damage.
"The Exedy Carbon Hyper clutch is without a doubt my biggest advantage on the track and it keeps my car a very fast daily driver that can drive home after the race on its own power and not wind up on a flat-bed tow truck."
Al has 21,000 miles on the car as of this writing and is still on his original tranny and diffs. Ten miles of the total are timed, full-boost blasts down the quarter mile. In these 40 passes, the EVO has evolved into a low 11-second performer with a best of 11.14 at 130 at its last event before press time. At our photo shoot, the car dished out 11.273 at 127.39 and 11.258 at 126.87 mph before facing a 10-second car in the Sport RWD finals; it was also awarded the Meguiar's Best Appearing Racecar award. Al is eyeing the 10s and still expects to take his daughter to preschool every day in his ultimate EVO.
"I'm going to leave the car just like it is over the summer and enjoy it profusely," says Al. "During the winter, I may consider a bigger turbo." Look out 10s.
|POWER TECHNIK |
|Car ||2004 Mitsibishi Lancer Evolution VIII |
|Engine ||4G63 |
|Pistons ||Pruven 9.0:1 |
|Valvetrain ||Ferrea 1mm over |
|Camshafts ||JUN |
|Cam Gears ||HKS |
|Fuel Pump ||Walbro 342 |
|Injectors ||Buschur Racing 870cc |
|Turbo ||HKS 3037S |
|Intake Manifold ||Magnus Motorsports Sheet Metal |
|Max Boost ||35 psi c-16, 22 91-octane |
|Wastegate ||HKS |
|Boost Controller ||Buschur MBL |
|Intercooler ||AMS FMIC |
|Engine Management ||AEM EMS |
|Exhaust ||Buschur Racing 3-inch |
|Ignition ||HKS Twin Power |
|Clutch ||Exedy Hyper Carbon |
|Suspension ||Tein Flex coil-overs |
|Wheels ||Advan TCII |
|Tires ||Toyo RA1 |