The EVO world is a quickly spinning sphere and it can be challenging to keep pace. Take Al Friedman and our October 2004 cover car; since that appearance the Mitsubishi has gained a whopping 138 whp and dropped a staggering .55 seconds off its quarter-mile time. All this while living up to its full daily driver commitments. We thought it would be cool to catch up with Al and his DynoFlash Diamond Star and see what he's done to bump it all up.
"Having reached the low 11s with my EVO with 530 whp and enjoying every minute of it, I started to think there was no limit to the power I could make with my EVO," says Al. "Every step along the way the car seemed to react and make more and more power and get faster and faster. Basically, every day for the past year I have been wrenching the EVO, tuning it or dreaming up more ways to get it faster. The first step on my latest volley of changes was to try and find a better turbo setup."
First Turbo and Fuel System
"I first tried the HKS 3040 upgrade over my 3037-S turbo kit and found .20 seconds in the quarter mile and 30 more whp to get to 560 whp. As soon as I stepped up to 550 plus whp I basically totally exceeded the limitations of the stock fuel system and I had to figure out some fueling solutions. The EVO fuel tank has an odd hump shape which crosses over the rear driveshaft. It has a pick up on each side and the fuel pump cage is built of plastic and that makes it very hard to adapt a bigger pump than the 255 lph Walbro pump which is basically a direct bolt in pump.
"I wanted to resolve the fueling issues and at the same time enhance the safety of the car so I dropped in a ATL fuel cell. The nice thing about the fuel cell I spec'd out is that it comes equipped with a surge tank built in and has the two Walbro pumps right in the surge tank so the entire fuel setup is contained in the fuel cell. This simplifies installation, decreases noise and helps to cool the in-tank pumps for added reliability.
"In addition to the fuel cell with a custom bracket fabricated by DeMonte Motorsports, a Busch Series race team in Long Island, New York, I ran some -8 fuel supply lines to a Perrin Fuel rail and upgraded to PT 1000cc injectors. I used an Aeromotive "street rod" fuel pressure regulator and a -6 return hose. With the two Walbro pumps and four 1000cc injectors I have enough fueling to go well over 700 whp."
"Now that I had the fuel system capable of handling up to 800 whp, it was time to explore the possibility of making still more power; and for this I turned to Martin Musal of AMS and his GT35-R-based EVO turbo upgrade kit. The kit features a pristine, thick-wall stainless-steel header with a very innovative 4-into-1 collector right at the turbo. This combo enabled me to get the best of both worlds-faster lower rpm spool-up and also more flow on top.
"The GT35-R has a much larger turbo inlet flange than the previous HKS unit, which relied on a GT25-style flange and it also has a larger turbine wheel. Basically, we have found that the GT35-R is the ideal turbo for street-driven applications.
"I was very surprised when we were able to produce an amazing 667 whp with this setup and still get full spool-up below 4800 rpm! With a powerband that makes over 600 whp from 5000 rpm to 9000 the car is really a blast to drive!
"My new best time at the strip is a 10.59 at 137 mph! This was done on Toyo 255/40-17 radial, DOT-approved tires with fully operational A/C, power steering, a full interior and no nitrous! The car weighs 3,350 with me in it."
With 667 whp currently on tap and more to follow Al quickly exceeded the capacity of the Exedy Twin Disk Carbon clutch. Luckily Exedy was there to save the day with the release of its brand new Exedy Triple Carbon clutch. "The new triple is a really revolutionary clutch unit," says Al. "Amazingly it has smooth and easy engagement and feels like a totally stock clutch when driven normally. It was even quieter than the twin and has a super light pedal pressure.
"When making serious whp on an AWD car, being able to slip or feather the clutch out of the hole is the key to not breaking driveline parts. I have now done at least 20 drag passes into the 10-second range with my EVO with this new clutch and I have had no transmission or differential failures - even though I am on a stock transmission and differentials."
"I am using some brand new Driveshaft Shop half shafts. After breaking five stock rear half shafts, I contacted Frank at the Driveshaft Shop who fabricated some extra heavy-duty EVO VIII half shafts which can take any amount of abuse you can throw at them."
"I must give special thanks to David Buschur, the godfather of 4G63 performance, for taking the time to help me with the truly amazing Buschur Racing coil-on-plug ignition and also for personally working with me on the setup and tuning of my AEM EMS ECU. I am still running the Buschur Racing three-inch exhaust system on my car, the same system any one with a EVO VIII can buy from Buschur Racing seven days a week."
What's next for Al and his emblazoned EVO? He wants to run 9s in full street trim while retaining 100-percent driveability so his daughter, Avery, will still make it to school every day.
When it comes to the tuning side of the scene things have never been better. With cars like the EVO, WRX, 350Z, Mazdaspeed offerings and others and enthusiasts as committed as Al out there pushing the envelope things will only continue to grow.