IT IS OFTEN THE CASE THAT NEW COMPETITORS WILL ARRIVE AT A CONTEST, start at the bottom and progressively inch their way toward the top with each successive event. On the other hand, there are also competitors that will set their initial sights on the top. Of course, reaching the top on a first attempt requires the knowledge and experience that can be found only at the top tuning shops in the world. Invision Performance in City of Industry, California, had aspirations to reach the top in the Redline Time Attack series. They contracted some of Japan’s top chassis and engine specialists to build a killer JDM-spec Mitsubishi Evolution IX.
Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Dino Dalle Carbonare
Garage HRS and WELD – Premier J-spec Tuning
Invision Performance recruited the assistance of fabricator Johnny Itoh of Weld Techniques Factory and EVO-specialist Yoshihiro Hirayama of Garage HRS fame to help with the construction of this no-holds-barred build. The work began on this 2006 EVO IX by stripping the entire chassis to a bare shell. Once the sound deadening had been removed, Itoh flexed his welding skills by fabricating an SCCA- and NASA-certified 8-point cage to reinforce the cabin, protect the driver and add rigidity to the chassis. Itoh also stitch welded the panels for added stiffness before moving to the exterior.
After completing the chassis, the exterior received a full aero tune. Voltex Racing’s Cyber street bumper with carbon-fiber canards cuts through the wind while Voltex’s side skirts, carbon-fiber rear diffuser and Type-5 spoiler help to facilitate air flow and create the downforce needed to stay planted on the tarmac. A Voltex carbon-fiber vented hood was chosen to release heat from the engine bay. Garage HRS 70mm wide fenders and Voltex rear over fenders were grafted in place to increase the capacity of the wheel wells. This facilitates the use of wider rubber for a wider contact patch. With the exterior components ready for paint, Itoh sprayed the EVO IX with a frost-white coat of paint throughout before the custom graphics were applied to the body.
Moving to the interior, the purpose-built cabin was outfitted with a pair of BRIDE race buckets and Takata 4-point harnesses. In the center console, the absent A/C controls had been replaced with DEFI gauges while the HKS EVC boost control display sits neatly to the right of the gauge hood. Steering input and gear selection are now made through a Key’s Racing steering wheel and shift knob, giving the driver suede control surfaces for sure-handed grip.
With the chassis and body prepared, attention turned to footwork. Suspending the chassis over the asphalt while retaining the best handling required filling the wheel wells with top-notch components. To start, ZEAL adjustable coilovers with custom valving and Garage HRS-spec springs position the EVO IX at the ideal ride height. The added width of the wide fenders facilitated the use of Cyber Evo’s +25mm wide-track kit. The kit, which includes extended arms and tie rods, improves the EVO IX’s handling and allows the use of the widest possible wheel- and-tire combination. The suspension was further supplemented with Cusco’s front stabilizer bracket and rear adjustable stabilizer. Tying in the front shock towers, a Garage HRS titanium strut tower brace was bolted in for added rigidity.
The next step was to fill the wells with the rubber. 18×10.5-inch AME TM-02 wheels took up residence at all four corners. These aluminum rollers were mounted with Toyo R888 high-performance gumballs in a 275/35R18 offering for maximum hookup on the track. To shave speed, Endless 6-piston calipers up front and 4-piston calipers in the rear clamp down on Endless 2-piece rotors and pads, generating the necessary friction before the turns. Finally, a set of Endless stainless-braided lines were installed to further enhance brake response and feel.
Maximum Engine For Maximum Velocity
Garage HRS looked to realize additional torque and turbo response from the 4G63 powerplant. The solution was to increase the engine’s displacement with larger bores and a longer stroke. Garage HRS increased the cylinder diameter of the 4G63 iron-block by +1mm to 86mm before slugging the block with Power Enterprise 9.0:1 forged-aluminum pistons. The pistons make the connection to the Power Enterprise billet-steel 94mm stroker crankshaft by way of Power Enterprise forged-steel connecting rods. This combination of parts results in a new displacement of 2,184cc. In order to take advantage of the increased displacement, the cylinder head’s flow needed to be improved. Garage HRS ported and polished the head for improved air flow before filling the head with Cosworth valve springs and longer-duration 272-degree camshafts. A Power Enterprise head gasket was chosen to ensure a positive seal between the head and the block.
Formula 1 Technology Supplies EVO IX Boost Pressure
With the longblock completed, the focus shifted to making boost pressure. Garage HRS chose a Power Enterprise RX-6 turbocharger. This IHI TCW77L-P22-spec turbo is identical to the turbos that were used by Honda’s Formula One race team. This is also the same turbo used on the record-setting Cyber EVO. The RX-6 turbo receives high-enthalpy exhaust gases by way of Power Enterprise’s stainless- steel equal-length manifold. Once the gases leave the turbine housing, they flow through a Power Enterprise stainless-steel downpipe and Garage HRS titanium exhaust to the rear of the chassis. On the cool side of the RX-6, the compressor draws ambient air through a Power Enterprise intake and HPI cone filter. Once compressed, the charge air travels to the Garage HRS Super Intercooler. Once the heat is rejected at the intercooler, the cooler, denser air flows through a Garage HRS-modified throttle body. The +2mm greater diameter of the modified throttle body permits increased airflow into the Garage HRS aluminum intake manifold. As the incoming air reaches the combustion chambers, Power Enterprise 1,000 cc/min fuel injectors spray 105-octane fuel into the air stream. Fuel reaches the injectors by way of a custom fuel delivery system. Garage HRS dropped in a Power Enterprise 255-lph in-tank fuel pump to supply the dual Bosch 044 in-line pumps and Garage HRS fuel surge tank. This combination of components helps to maintain steady fuel pressure no matter how aggressive the course or the amount of body roll the chassis experiences through the turns. Orchestration of fuel delivery and ignition timing sits squarely on the shoulders of HKS’ F-CON V-Pro engine management system. With the HKS EVC boost control set to 28 psi, Itoh tuned the V-Pro to generate 592 whp and 456 lb-ft of torque from the 4G63 mill.
Chillin’ At The Track
With 592 horsepower on tap, the stroked 4G63 generates a considerable amount of heat. To combat these extreme temperatures, Samco silicone hoses and an F-Win racing radiator replace the factory components as the primary means of heat exchange for the engine. An HKS low-temperature thermostat works in conjunction with the radiator to keep the heat down, while a Tabata air-separator tank keeps the cooling system running at optimal efficiency. An HKS oil cooler further supplements and completes the cooling system.
Power To The Blacktop
The horsepower being made puts a considerable strain on the driveline. To ensure consistent and reliable power delivery, an Exedy twin-plate clutch and lightened flywheel now transfer power from the crankshaft to the transmission. While the factory AYC and ACD work to keep the wheels turning, a Cusco Type-RS limited-slip differential replaced the factory front differential to split power between the front wheels.
Complete and ready to race, Garage HRS and Weld Techniques Factory delivered the goods with style, flair and function. The thought of taking baby steps never crossed their minds. Now the final piece of the puzzle is for Invision to arrange for delivery and for this JDM-built EVO IX to hit the track. We can’t wait to see it in action.