Arne: Turbotrix Racing was one of the first to build an actual purpose-built Evo race car. Our car was a street car still at the time. We took out a loan to purchase this Evo VIII, and we couldn't bear to tear it apart and strip it down. They had the record at 9.7 seconds for a year and a half. We finally caught up and took the title in 2005.
Martin: We built the car and improved our times from 10-second to 9-second passes. I drove the car in its earlier stages when it was still hitting 140 to 142mph trap speeds, but I was so busy with product development for the shop that we decided to have one of our techs Eric Jones take over since he was a good driver. His first pass was in 2005 at Englishtown where he made the first 9-second pass in our car at 9.92 using Nitto drag radials.
Turbo: That was back in 2005. You guys currently hold the title of the quickest and most powerful Evo in the world. How much horsepower does the Evo VIII drag car lay down?
Martin: It lays down 1,130 whp as of recent with plans to extract another 100 hp or more but the transfer case has become a limiting factor with that much horsepower. The Shepherd-built factory five-speed transmission is still holding up nicely but the transfer case is a whole different story. We were also snapping rear ends, but we've seemed to resolve the problem using a different setup.
Arne: Seems like we were getting five to 10 launches and poof, there goes another $1,000 transfer case.
Martin: I'll never forget the carnage our Evo VIII experienced off the line at one event. We usually increment the boost on the car from 20 pounds in First gear, then program full boost through the rest of the gears. We happened to be prepping the car in the pits and for some reason we didn't adjust the boost, so Eric is sitting at the staging lights on the two-step and launches the Evo. The car immediately shot to 50 pounds of boost and launched so hard, spinning all four tires, that it tore apart everything. The diff, tranny, transfer case, carbon driveshaft-all went spitting out of the car. I saw sparks from the U-joints and the carbon driveshaft flying out from under the car. All I could think about at that second was "Sh*t! There goes 6 grand worth of damage to the car." It was like a grand for every 10 feet the car moved and it went 60 feet. (Both laughing) It was hilarious but painful to watch at the same time.
Turbo: Off the top of your head what was one of the proudest things your company accomplished?
Martin: Last year, we sold 250 intercooler kits for the Evo VIII. We must be doing something right.
Turbo: Did you accredit much of your success to the street racing scene?
Arne: As bad as it is to say, we made our name with street racing. Our mechanic at the time Adam Dubienczk owned a Galant VR-4 that pulled 11 seconds in the quarter-mile, with ski racks on top and all. The car eventually progressed into a high 10-second machine. We would all go out to the street races and find the biggest, baddest V-8 whether they were trailered or rolling on a set of slicks. Adam would spot the guy out with a couple car lengths, but that didn't matter because he'd always take that V-8 out. After retiring the Galant we would "campaign" my wife's 400whp Talon for street racing duty. Eventually, the car got too fast for her and was sold to Eric Gaudi, our sales manager. We built it into a 600-plus whp, mid 10-second car and, of course, we still claimed it as "my wife's car" at the street races. (Laughing). We were almost undefeated back in our street racing days so it helped build our reputation and create the AMS name in Chicago. Even today if you have a Mitsubishi with an AMS sticker on the window and go out to the illegals, I'll guarantee you won't get a race. Those were the good times before the whole The Fast and The Furious thing took over where kids started coming out with minivans and sh*t to the street races. Everyone was on the side of the road doing stupid stuff and the cops started cracking down. That was when we stopped and haven't gone to the street races for over four or five years. I believe its better to take the races to the track and have an official number where nationwide or worldwide spectators can witness how fast you are with some form of safety taking place.