By Jesse Sears
Achieving race performance success in the World Rally Championship (WRC) rally racing series with the Lancer Evolution platform, Mitsubishi Ralliart has proved the versatility and competence of the Evo X chassis by completely converting the rally-derived sport compact into a light and razor-sharp endurance road racing machine.
In Mitsubishi's consumer car platform, all the way from the lowly--though still relatively exciting--econobox Lancer up to the boy racer's dream Evo X, the Lancer makes for sport compact cars with neutral handling characteristics. The Evo driver can attain his or her full potential, perhaps unlike any competing sport compact in the Lancer Evolution's price range.
Lancer Evolution WRC Success Brings a New Challenge for Mitsubishi Ralliart
For more than 15 years Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution cars have been competitive if not dominant in the WRC series. The latest generation Lancer Evolution WRC car. Especially at home in rough terrain and gravelly surfaces, the Mitsubishi Evolution IX Group-N WRC cars had the strongest showing in their class during the 2008 WRC season.
As per WRC regulations, the Group-N Evolution cars are not so different than the Evo cars found on highways and in garages around the world. Other than safety equipment, weight stripping and rally-appropriate suspension, consumers can visit Mitsubishi Ralliart dealerships worldwide and drive off with an AWD super sport compact fully ready for any and all roads ahead.
Making the transition from WRC car to road-going endurance racer is difficult to say the least. It is uncommon to find AWD cars in the first place in factory-sponsored endurance racing series. For an AWD sport compact to run amongst cars outpricing its base model exponentially, and hold its own over the grueling 24 Hours of Silverstone event is a truly remarkable accomplishment.
Under the Hood - Lancer Evolution Race Car Tuned for the Long Haul
Developed by United Kingdom-based ADR Motorsport, the Evo X Race Car spits out 400 bhp, accomplished by raising both boost and displacement on Mitsubishi Ralliart's highly developed turbocharged four cylinder motors. Power is put to the pavement through a modified Ralliart AWD system.
Suspension components needed a complete overhaul to prepare the car for endurance road racing, as the needs for the dirt, snow and jumps of the WRC series are completely different. Running AWD cars in this class is unusual, but the Lancer Evolution racing team proved their mettle, finishing the entire 24 hour race at Silverstone without the need for any significant pit work.
ADR Motorsport and the Mitsu Ralliart team are continuing development of the Lancer Evolution X Race Car, hoping for even greater success in the BritCar racing series, hoping to branch out to other endurance races as this competent sport compact platform continues to push its limits to the fullest.
SUCCESS FOR MITSUBISHI WITH EVO X RACE DEBUT
Official Mitsubishi Racing Press Release
~ Britcar 24hr Endurance, Silverstone - 20th & 21st September 2008 ~
- New Mitsubishi completes 24-hour endurance event on debut outing
- 400 BHP Lancer Evolution X race-car proves 100% reliable first time out
- Drivers and technicians delighted with car’s performance
The racing debut for the Works Mitsubishi Motors UK Lancer Evolution X in this weekend’s Britcar 24-hour race at Silverstone was hailed as a great success by the team, the brand new car completing the whole event without missing a beat.
Driven by James Kaye, Andy Barnes, Mark Lemmer and Jay Wheals, the team crossed the line fifth in class and 25th overall after covering a race-distance of 517 laps and 1,651 miles.
The first stint was driven by Kaye, who had to stay in place for almost an hour under safety car conditions following an accident involving other cars.
After two hours, in the first pit-stop, he reported that the car was running perfectly, and as the race continued into the night the Evolution’s lap times became more and more consistent and at one point the team climbed from its start position of 46th to a place inside the top 20. In fact, with the car running so well that the only maintenance required was the routine changing of tyres and brake pads.
Having survived the darkness hours, the team were now determined to make it to the finish and all four drivers did what was required to provide Mitsubishi UK with its first success on the track for many years, crossing the line to finish fifth in class and 25th overall.
At the finish, Team Principal and Ralliart General Manager, Paul Brigden said:
"We have achieved what we came here to do and I am delighted. The car performed so well – without any significant pre-race testing – for all 24 hours. It’s a credit to the whole team: the engineers, drivers and pit crew."
Lead Driver James Kaye was also pleased with the outcome:
"It’s a tremendous achievement that we’ve completed one of the toughest races in the UK calendar without any major problems. There’s great potential in the Lancer Evolution X and I’m looking forward to being able to do some test and development work which will make it even more competitive."
The three other drivers were also complimentary about the car:
"It’s great to drive and is very well built, with excellent delivery of power and forgiving handling," said Andy Barnes.
Mark Lemmer commented:
"It’s an easy car to drive and, with a little more development, there is at least two-seconds a lap to be gained. It’s a great package."
Jay Wheals, who was drafted in just a few days before the race said:
“I was able to get used to the car very quickly. It felt good from the word go and I had no problem adapting to four-wheel-drive.”
The team is now considering future events before the end of the year, details of which will be announced in the next few weeks.