9.98 @ 138 MPH
The first update of Al Friedman's flame-emblazoned Mitsubishi Evo VIII appeared in the January, 2005 issue of Turbo after he swapped out the HKS 3037S turbo for a GT35R turbo. With the GT35R the 4G63 pumped out 667 whp. "My car was running very well," relates Al, "but I was being held back with excessive wheelspin and breakage of rear half shafts.
"I considered lowering the boost off the line with a speed-dependent boost map on my AEM stand-alone ECU, but the thought of cutting back on all that hard-earned whp didn't make any sense. If I wanted to go faster, I needed to make as much power as I could. Lowering boost was not an option.
Clearly, the solution was to find a way to get all the power to the ground and fix the weak links in the Evo drivetrain. My goal was to leave the line at full boost and hook up all 667 of those horses.
"My recent improvements have yielded 1.50-second 60-foot times on my 3,300-pound (with driver) Evo VIII, which remains a fully registered and insured road going car."
Potent 4G63 Diamond Stars have been putting the twist to driveline parts for decades. Many a chunk of driveline has found its end smoldering under a car just off the line at the drag strip. For the Evo it's half shafts that suffer. "Every time I would try and launch hard the rear half shafts were breaking off at the end near the outer splines." According to Frank at The Driveshaft Shop the outer splines are made from a slightly softer and cheaper material than on previous generation DSMs.
The Driveshaft Shop engineered a Stage 5 rear-axle system, using new hubs with upgraded splines and shafts giving the shafts a 1,000-whp capacity. "These are direct bolt-in propositions and have proven to be totally indestructible," says Al.
Another significant problem can be found in the stock engine mounts and suspension bushings which are quite soft. The mounts allow the entire engine and transaxle to pitch back and forth several inches at each shift. This causes a great deal of instability and weight transfer and also makes fast shifts difficult. Al tracked down Rally Group N engine mounts and suspension bushings from Ralliart. This made the engine and suspension mounts much stiffer and reduced movement of the engine during fast shifts.
Also, Al reports rear wheel hop, a common occurrence on stock Evos, was totally eliminated when he installed a set of AMS rear trailing arm nylon bushings. The stock bushings crack and break very easily under hard launching. The AMS nylon bushings are totally abuse-proof and improve the handling and launching characteristics of the car by removing a lot of mush from the rear suspension.
"I have been using an off-the-shelf Tein Flex suspension with great results," says Al. "However, more power resulted in more violent weight transfer to the rear of the car and actually caused the rear suspension to bottom out on the bumpstops. Tein USA came through with a re-valving of the rear shocks to match a set of stiffer springs. All Tein suspensions can be re-valved by Tein to match your particular application."
The front diff is another concern when the hammer drops. Al reports the stock 2003 Evo VIII front open diff is both a weak link, known to fail even on stock Evos, and also a real handicap when launching off the line as the inside tire just spins. He points to Quaife's just-released limited-slip front diff as a key component to his recent success.
"The helical gears of the Quaife give the car massive traction," says Al. "It feels like a cat with all four claws stuck to your back. It's good for drag racing and even better for road handling. It transforms the Evo from an understeering front-wheel drive type of handling into a more rear-wheel drive feeling, neutral handling car which can be oversteered into a four-wheel drift with the gas pedal."
"The best part of the Quaife for me is the unconditional lifetime warranty, which even covers race use. This warranty really gives me peace of mind when I am trying to break new records at the drag strip."
One of the most important factors a lot of people overlook in trying to go fast (even in a straight line) is that all four wheels need to be pointed in the same direction. A proper wheel alignment is critical and should never be overlooked.
Tuning With Alcohol Injection
"One of the biggest discoveries I made this off-season was the advantages of alcohol injection on turbo cars. While my peak power remains unchanged, the addition of a simple one-jet progressive methanol injection kit (same unit I sell for street-driven Evos) really has yielded huge benefits at the track.
"First of all, adding alcohol injection acts as an additional intercooler; significantly lowering charge temps which is a real help when you are running super-high boost levels and running your turbo out of its peak efficiency range. As the super-fine alcohol mist evaporates inside the intercooler pipe the charge temps drop 25 to 35 degrees, which results in much denser air and more torque down low.
"Additionally, as an oxygenated hydrocarbon, Methanol adds additional oxygen to your charge, which is available to combust with the extra fuel you are supplying.
"On race gas, the octane-raising benefits of alcohol are not significant, however the intercooling effect is a significant benefit and results in significant power gains and added reliability."
The Historic Pass
"I ran a 9.98 at 138.9 which is the world's quickest and fastest in the quarter mile without nitrous. It's amazing to me that even a few months ago when my car was on the cover of Turbo magazine I was going in the low 11s and now I am in the single digits.
"Basically, I have been working on making my car faster almost every waking moment during the past six months. When I broke into the 10s I immediately started to work toward going even faster and faster into the 9s.
"Right after I picked up my first 9-second timeslip, a goal I have had for several years, I almost immediately imagined upgrading the turbo on the car and look for more power.
"I am starting to realize that the time slip and the record are not the real motivator to what I am doing. What I really enjoy is the process of speaking with people who work in the aftermarket car industry and sharing ideas and figuring out new approaches to making my car run better. My car is a test-bed and research project which helps me learn more about tuning and working with Evos and assists me in advising my customers on Evo modification and tuning.
"Next up for my Evo is a twin-scroll GT40R ball bearing turbo set up and a goal of 800 whp, without nitrous. Sure, I could be happy with the car the way it is; it's running great. But, once you start down the road of high performance sometimes the project becomes more than a hobby and starts to take on a life of its own. This one is living large."