These properties allow the use of thinner cross sections using less material. Since the material can be much thinner a forged wheel has the potential to be much lighter than a cast wheel of the same size. By forming the wheel into its final shape with a die, no machining other than for the backspacing controlling mount pad, the center bore and the lug bolt circle is needed. When fewer processes are needed in the production of the wheel, variability from wheel to wheel is reduced. This gives the potential for improved balance and less run out for each wheel, reducing the chances for wobbles and shakes.

Another plus is that if a forged wheel is hit hard, it tends to bend where a cast wheel tends to crack. This is much less of a catastrophic "soft" failure mode. Usually wheel forgings are reserved for the highest level of race car or very expensive road cars. We can attest to Volk's toughness, lasting many times longer than any other wheel on our race cars.

Race-ready wheels require race-ready tires and Nitto came to our aid with a set of their ultra-sticky 245/40-18 R-compound NT01 tires. Although it's a race-ready R-compound tire, the NT01 is designed and marketed not as an all-out gumball qualifying tire but as a high value race and track day tire for the serious grassroots enthusiast. This sounds a lot like us. The NT01's tread compound is formulated to last through many heat cycles and provide a decent amount of wear. This allows us to use the tire for street or track use, which is OK because we don't put a lot of miles on our EVO. It's not our primary source of transportation, even though we could drive it daily. The NT01 features a W performance rating for use up to 168 mph continually. It's carcass has hard bead fillers in the sidewalls to help steering response. A rayon carcass and nylon cord wrapped dual steel belts help ensure dimensional stability of the tire under high speeds and load. The tires feature a unique asymmetrical tread pattern that maximizes the treads contact patch putting lots of rubber on the road with minimal squirm.

To finalize our suspension install, we paid a visit to Steve Mitchell at M-Workz. M-Workz has been making quite a name for itself as a chassis setup facility serving the drift and road racing community. Steve spent half a day setting up our EVO with precision. Our chassis was set up taking full advantage of our adjustability. We set the front suspension at 5-degrees positive caster and 2.5-degrees negative camber - about the most you'd want to drive on the street and zero toe. The camber plates were set so that they were in the middle of the adjustment range with most of the adjustment being done at the bottom of the Moton strut housing so that more negative camber could be quickly dialed in at the track. M-Workz also used the lower adjuster to increase our steering axis inclination angle to improve straight line stability at high speeds and steering feel.

For the rear suspension 1.5-degrees negative camber was dialed in with zero rear toe. The lower rear camber numbers were so that the rear tires could sacrifice a little cornering power to get more drive out of the corner. After the alignment was roughly set, the car was corner balanced using electronic scales. With our uber-braced stiff chassis, it was easier than usual on a cageless street car to get the proper 50 percent cross weights. Since fiddling the ride height to get the corner weights affects alignment, the car was then fine-aligned to make sure that it was still dead on our specs.

So what do we think of our work so far. Well, we're still sort of in shock. Considering that our suspension is capable of winning races in professional road racing, the street ride is amazingly good, even over the broken pavement of LA. The EVO is a pretty stiff riding car from the factory and amazingly our creation doesn't ride much differently. It's firmer yes, but it's a good controlled stiff feeling - certainly not the jolting ride that's expected from racing suspension. The Moton dampers were good right from the factory that we haven't even attempted to adjust them. When we do get around to it, we bet the ride will be even better. Although there's more driveline and road noise due to the harder bushings and spherical bearings now in the suspension, it's really just a slight amount that some might not even notice.

One of the annoying things about an EVO is that the steering is so fast and responsive that the car can feel nervous at freeway speeds. With the addition of positive caster and additional steering axis inclination, the steering now has a better on/off center feel. There is more straight line stability while the turn in is even sharper. The amount of grip is amazing and the balance is so good that perhaps this may be the best handling car we've ever driven. Even though it's a street car, it handles better than most race cars we have tested and we can't wait to hit the track. We know that currently it's capable of pulling more than one g of lateral acceleration on the skidpad even with its current narrowish tires.

Once we increase power so we can use wider 275 tires without bogging down, we are sure it will get mind-boggling.

WORKS Energy Suspension
1131 Via Callejon
San Clemente
CA  92673
Mackin Industries
Nukabe Automotive Nitto Tire North America
6021 Katella Ave., Ste. 250
CA  90630
Robispec Eibach
Global Performance Parts
Ground Control Inc. Moton Suspension Technology Inc.